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Louis XIV. 




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by 

Harper & Brothers, 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington 

Copyright, 1898, by Laura A. Buck 




"We all live a double life : the external life 
which the world sees, and the internal life of 
hopes and fears, joys and griefs, temptations 
and sins, which the world sees not, and of 
which it knows but little. None lead this 
double life more emphatically than those who 
n are seated upon thrones. 

Though this historic sketch contains allu- 
sions to all the most important events m the 
reign of Louis XI V., it has been the main ob- 
ject of the writer to develop the inner life of 

art J i 

the palace ; to lead the reader into the interior 
of the Louvre, the Tuileries, Versailles, and 
Marly, and to exhibit the monarch as a man, 
in the details of domestic privacy. 

This can more easily be done in reference 
to Louis XIV. than any other king. Very 
many of the prominent members of his house- 
hold left their autobiographies, filled with the 
minutest incidents of every-day life. 

It is impossible to give any correct idea of 
the life of this proud monarch without allusion 

viii Preface. 

to the corruption in the midst of which he 
spent his days. Still, the writer, while faithful 
to fact, has endeavored so to describe these 
scenes that any father can safely read the nar- 
rative aloud to his family. 

There are few chapters in history more re- 
plete with horrors than that which records the 
"Revocation of the Edict of Nantes." The 
facts given are beyond all possibility of con- 
tradiction. In the contemplation of these 
scenes the mind pauses, bewildered by the re- 
flection forced upon it, that many of the actors 
in these fiend-like outrages were inspired by 
motives akin to sincerity aud conscientious- 

The thoughtful reader will perceive that in 
this long and wicked reign Louis XIV. was 
sowing the wind from which his descendants 
reaped the whirlwind. It was the despotism 
of Louis XIV. and of Louis XY. which ushered 
in that most sublime of all earthly dramas, the 
French Revolution. 

John S.C.Abbott. 

New Haven, Conn., 1870. 


l%ap<er Pa#» 















Louis xrv Frontispiece. 

















ST. DENIS 236 







MARLY 354 





Chapter I. 
Birth and Childhood. 

Marriage of Louis XIII. 

LOUIS XIII. of France married Anne, of 
Austria on the 25th of November, 1615. 
The marriage ceremony was performed with 
great splendor in the Cathedral of Bordeaux. 
The bride was exceedingly beautiful, tall, and 
of exquisite proportions. She possessed the 
whitest and most delicate hand that ever made 
an imperious gesture. Her eyes were of 
matchless beauty, easily dilated, and of extra- 
ordinary transparency. Her small and ruddy 
mouth looked like an opening rose-bud. Long 
and silky hair, of a lovely shade of auburn, 
gave to the face it surrounded the sparkling 
complexion of a blonde, and the animation of 
a brunette.* 

The marriage was not a happy one Louis 

* Louis XIV. et son Steele. 

14 Louis XIV. [1615. 

Character of Louis XIII. 

XIII. was not a man of any mental or physical 
attractions. He was cruel, petulant, and jeal- 
ous. The king had a younger brother, Gaston, 
duke of Anjou. He was a young man of joy- 
ous spirits, social, frank, a universal favorite. 
His moody, taciturn brother did not love him. 
Anne did. She could not but enjoy his socie- 
ty. Wounded by the coldness and neglect of 
her husband, it is said that she was not unwill- 
ing, by rather a free exhibition of the fascina- 
tions of her person and her mind, to win the 
admiration of Gaston. She hoped thus to in- 
spire the king with a more just appreciation of 
her merits. 

Louis XIIL, at the time of his marriage, 
was a mere boy fourteen years of age. His 
father had died when he was nine years old. 
He was left under the care of his mother,JV[ary 
de Medicis, as regent. Anne of Austria was 
a maturely developed and precocious child of 
eleven years when she gave her hand to the 
boy-king of France. Not much discretion 
could have been expected of two such children, 
exposed to the idleness, the splendors, and the 
corruption of a court. 

Anne was vain of her beauty, naturally co- 
quettish, and very romantic in her views of life. 

lo24.] Birth and Childhood. 15 

Character of Anne of Austria. Cardinal Richelieu. 

It is said that the queen dowager, wishing to 
prevent Anne from gaining much influence 
over the mind of the king, did all she could to 
1 Lire her into flirtations and gallantries, which 
alienated her from her husband. For this 
purpose she placed near her person Madame 
Chevreuse, an intriguing woman, alike renown- 
ed for wit, beauty, and unscrupulousness. 

Quite a desperate flirtation arose between 
Anne and little Gaston, who was but nine years 
of age. Gaston, whom the folly of the times 
entitled Duke of Anjou, hated Louis, and de- 
lighted to excite his jealousy and anger by his 
open and secret manifestation of love for the 
beautiful Anne. The king's health failed. 
He became increasingly languid, morose, ema- 
ciate. Anne, young as she was, was physically 
a fully developed woman of voluptuous beauty. 
The undisguised alienation which existed be 
tween her and the king encouraged other 
courtiers of eminent rank to court her smiles. 

Cardinal Richelieu, notwithstanding his ec- 
clesiastical vows, became not only the admirer, 
but the lover of the queen, addressing her in 
the most impassioned words of endearment. 
Thus years of intrigue and domestic wretched- 
ness passed away until 1624o The queen had 


16 Louis XIV. [1628. 

The Duke of Buckingham. His deatt. 

then been married nine years, and was twenty 
years of age. She had no children. 

The reckless, hot-headed George Yilliers, 
duke of Buckingham, visited the French court 
to arrange terms of marriage between Henriet- 
ta Maria, sister of Louis XIIL, and the Prince 
of Wales, son of James I. of England. He 
was what is called a splendid man, of noble 
bearing, and of chivalric devotion to the fair. 
The duke, boundlessly rich, displayed great 
magnificence in Paris. lie danced with the 
queen, fascinated her by his openly avowed 
admiration, and won sueh smiles in return as 
to induce the king and Cardinal Richelieu al- 
most to gnash their teeth with rage. 

This flirtation, if we may not express it by 
a more emphatic phrase, created much heart- 
burning and wretchedness, criminations and 
recriminations, in the regal palace. In Au- 
gust, 1628, the Duke of Buckingham, then in 
England, terminated his wretched and guilty 
life. He fell beneath the dagger of an assas- 
sin. Anne, disdaining all dissimulation, wept 
openly^and, secluding herself from the gaye- 
ties of the court, surrendered herself to grief. 

A mutual spirit of defiance existed between 
the king and queen. Both were wretched. 

1637.] Birth and Childhood. 17 

Estrangement of the king and queen. 

Such are always the wages of sin. Ton more 
joyless years passed away. The rupture be- 
tween the royal pair was such that they could 
scarcely endure each other. Louis himself 
was the first to inform the queen of the news 
so satisfactory to him, so heart-rending to her, 
that a dagger had pierced the heart of Buck- 
ingham. After this they met only at unfre- 
quent intervals. All confidence and sympathy 
were at an end. It was a bitter disappointment 
to the queen that she had no children. Upon 
the death of the king, who was in very feeble 
health, her own position and influence would 
depend almost entirely upon her having a son 
to whom the crown would descend. Louis re- 
sided generally at the Castle of Blois. Anne 
held her court at the Louvre. 

A married life of twenty -two years had pass- 
ed away, and still the queen had no child. 
Both she and her husband had relinquished all 
hope of offspring. On the evening of the 5th 
of December, 1637, the king, having made a 
visit to the Convent of the Visitation, being 
overtaken by a storm, drove to the Louvre in- 
stead of Blois. He immediately proceeded to 
the apartments of the queen. Anne was as- 
tonished, and did not disguise her astonishment 



Louis XIV. 

Joy of the nation. 



at seeing him. He, however, remained until 
the morrow. 

Soon after this, to the inexpressible joy of 
the queen, it appeared that she was to become 
a mother. The public announcement of the 
fact created surprise and joy throughout the 
nation. The king was equally astonished and 
delighted. He immediately hastened to the 
Louvre to offer the queen his congratulations. 

The queen repaired to St. Germain-en-Laye, 
about six miles from Versailles, to await the 

1638.] Birth and Childhood. 19 

Birth of Louis XIV. ^ <y*J £ 

birth of her child. Here she occupied, in the 
royal palace, the gorgeous apartments in which 
Henry IV. had formerly dwelt. The king 
himself also took up his abode in the palace. 
The excitement was so great that St. Germain 
was crowded with the nobility, who had flock- 
ed to the place in anxious expectancy of the 
great event. Others, who could not be accom- 
modated at St. Germain, stationed couriers on 
the road to obtain the earliest intelligence of 
the result. 

v On the 5th of September, 1638, the king 
was greeted with the joyful tidings of the birth 
of a son. A vast crowd had assembled in front 
of the palace. The king, in the exuberance of 
his delight, took the child from the nurse, and, 
stepping out upon a balcony, exhibited him to 
the crowd, exclaiming, "A son! gentlemen, a 
son !" 

The announcement was received with a uni- 
versal shout of joy. The happy father then 
took the babe into an adjoining apartment, 
where the bishops were assembled to perform 
the ordinance of baptism. These dignitaries 
of the Church had been kneeling around a 
temporary altar praying for the queen. The 
Bishop of Meaux performed the ceremony. A 

20 Louis XIY. [163S, 

Gift of the Pope. 

Te Deum was then chanted in the chapel of 
the castle. Immediately after this, the king 
wrote an autograph letter to the corporation 
of Paris, announcing the joyful tidings. A 
courier was dispatched with the document at 
his highest possible speed. 

The enthusiasm excited in the capital sur- 
passed any thing which had ever before been 
witnessed. The common people, the nobles, 
the ecclesiastics, and the foreign embassadors, 
vied with each other in their demonstrations 
of joy. A few months after, in July, an extra- 
ordinary messenger arrived from the pope, to 
convey to the august mother amd her child the 
blessing of the holy father. He also present- 
ed the queen, for her babe, swaddling-clothes 
which had been blessed by his holiness. These 
garments wore exceedingly rich with gold and 
silver embroidery. They were inclosed in a 
couple of chests of red velvet, and elicited the 
admiration of the royal pair. 

The France of that day was very different 
from that magnificent empire which now stands 
in intellectual culture, arts, and arms, promi- 
nent among the nations of the globe. The 
country was split up into hostile factions, over 
which haughty nobles ruled. The roads m the 

1040.] Birth and Childhood. 21 

Condition of Paris. Reconciliation of the king and queen. 

rural districts were almost impassable. Paris 
itself was a small and dirty city, with scarcely 
any police regulations, and infested with rob- 
bers. There were no lamps to light the city 
by night. The streets were narrow, ill paved, 
and choked with mud and refuse. Immedi- 
ately after nightfall these dark and crooked 
thoroughfares were thronged with robbers and 
assassins, whose depredations were of the most 
audacious kind. 

Socially, morally, and intellectually, France 
was at the lowest ebb. The masses of the peo- 
ple were in a degraded condition of squalid 
poverty and debasement. Still the king, by 
enormous taxation, succeeded in wresting from 
his wretched subjects an income to meet the 
expenses of his court, amounting to about four 
millions of our money. But the outlavs were 
so enormous that even this income was quite 
unavailing, and innumerable measures of ex- 
tortion were adopted to meet the deficit. 

The king was so much gratified by the birth 
of a dauphin that for a time he became quite 
reconciled to his beautiful and haughty queen. 
Two years after the birth of the dauphin, on 
the 2l6t of September, 1640, Anne gave birth 
to a second son, who took the title of Philip, 

22 Louis XIV. [1640. 

Orders of Louis XIII. respecting the dauphin. 

duke of Anjou. The queen and her two chil- 
dren resided in the beautiful palace of Saint 
Germain-en-Laye, where the princes were born. 

A company of French Guards, commanded 
by Captain Montigni, protected the castle. 
Madame de Lausac was the governess of the 
two children. The title by which the king's 
brother was usually designated was simply 
Monsieur. But for these children of the king, 
the crown, upon the death of the monarch, 
would descend immediately to Monsieur, the 
king's brother. The morals of the times were 
such that the king was ever apprehensive that 
some harm might come to the children through 
the intrigues of his brother. Monsieur lived 
in Paris. The king left orders with Madame 
de Lausac that, should his brother visit the 
queen, the officers of the household should im- 
mediately surround the dauphin for his protec- 
tion, and that Monsieur should not be permit- 
ted to enter the palace should he be accompa- 
nied by more than three persons. 

To Montigni, the captain of the guard, the 
king gave half of a gold coin, of which he re- 
tained the other half. Montigni was com- 
manded to watch over the persons of the princes 
with the utmost vigilance. Should he receive 

1643.] Birth and Childhood. 25 

111 health of Louis XIII. 

an order to remove them, or to transfer them 
to other hands, he was enjoined not to obey 
that order, even should it be in the handwrit- 
ing of his majesty himself, unless he at the 
same time received the other half of the broken 

The king, as we have mentioned, had been 
for some time in feeble health. Early in the 
spring of 1643 he became seriously ill. The 
symptoms were so alarming as to lead the 
king, as well as his friends, to think that death 
could not be far distant. There are few men 
so hardened as to be able to contemplate with- 
out some degree of anxiety death and the final 
judgment. The king was alarmed. He be- 
took himself to prayer and to the scrupulous 
discharge of his religious duties. 

In preparation for the great change, he re- 
paired to Saint Germain to invest the queen 
with the regency when he should die. His 
brother, Monsieur, who had taken the title of 
the Duke of Orleans, and all the leading nobles 
of the court, were present. The king, pale, 
emaciate, and with death staring him in the 
face, was bolstered in his bed. Anne of Aus- 
tria stood weeping by his side. She did not 
love her husband — she did love power ; but 

26 Louis XIV. [1643, 

The dauphin declared King Louis XIV. 

the scene was so solemn and so affecting as to 
force tears into all eyes. The dauphin was 
theii_jimrr__a2id_^^ lie was de- 

clared king, with the title ofLbuis XIV., un- 
der the regency of his mother until he should 
attain his majority. 

The next day, April 21st, the christening of 
the dauphin with his new title took place with 
great state in the chapel of the palace. After 
the celebration of the rite, the dauphin was 
carried into the chamber of his dying father, 
and seated upon the bed by his side. The 
poor king, dying in the prime of life, was op- 
pressed with the profounclest melancholy. 
There was nothing in the memory of the past 
to give him pleasure ; nothing in the future to 
inspire him with well-grounded hope. Turn- 
ing to the little prince, who had just been chris- 
tened with the ro} 7 al title, he inquired, 

" What is your name, my child V 

" Louis XIV.," the dauphin promptly replied. 

" Not yet," said the king, sadly, shaking his 
head ; " but pray God that it may soon be so." 

A few more days of sickness and suffering 
passed away, during which it was almost hour- 
ly expected that the king would die. Death 
often comes to the palace invested with terrors 

1643.] Birth and Childhood. 2? 

Last hours of Louis XIII. 

unknown in the cottage. Beneath his sceptre 
all gradations and conditions of rank disap- 
pear. ♦The sufferings of the king were such 
that he longed for release. 

On the 13th of May, as the shades of even- 
ing were gathering around his dying bed, he 
anxiously inquired of his physicians if it were 
possible that he could live until morning. 
They consulted together, and then informed 
him that they did not think it possible. 

" God be praised !" the king replied. " I 
think it is now time that I should take leave 
of all whom I love." 

The royal household was immediately as- 
sembled around the couch of the dying mon- 
arch. He had sufficient strength to throw his 
arms around the neck of the queen, and to press 
her tenderly to his heart. In such an hour 
past differences are forgotten. In low and 
broken tones of voice, the king addressed the 
queen in a few parting words of endearment. 

The dauphin was then placed in his arms. 
Silently, but with tearful eyes, he pressed his 
thin and parched lips to both cheeks and to the 
brow of the child, who was too young to com- 
prehend the solemn import of the scene. 

His brother, Monsieur, the duke of Orleans, 

28 Louis XIV. [1643. 

Death of Louis XIII. 

the king had never loved. In these later years 
he had regarded him with implacable hostility. 
But, subdued by the influences of death, he 
bade that brother an eternal adieu, with even 
fond caresses. Indeed, he had become so far 
reconciled to Monsieur that he had appointed 
him lieutenant general of the kingdom, under 
the regency of Anne of Austria, during the mi- 
nority of the dauphin. 

Several of the higher ecclesiastics were pres- 
ent, who had assisted in preparing him to die. 
He affectionatelv embraced them all, and then 
requested the Bishop of Meaux to read the 
service for the dvin£. While it was beincr 
read he sank into a lethargy, and never spoke 
a^ain. He died in the fortv-second year of 
his age, after a reign of thirty-three years, hav- 
ing ascended the throne when but nine years 

Immediately after the death of the king, 
Anne of Austria held a private interview with 
Monsieur, in which they agreed to co-operate 
in the maintenance of each other's authority. 
The Parliament promptly recognized the queen 
as regent, and the Duke of Orleans as lieutenant 
general, during the minority of the dauphin. 

The Duke de Grammont, one of the highest 

1643.] Birth and Childhood. 29 

Louis XIV. recognized king. 

nobles of France, and a distinguished member 
of the court of Louis XIII., had a son, the 
Count de Guiche, a few months older than the 
dauphin. This child was educated as the play- 
fellow and the companion in study of the 
young king. One of the first acts of Anne of 
Austria was to assemble the leading bodies of 
the realm to take the oath of allegiance to her 
son. The little fellow, four and a half years 
old, arrayed in imperial robes, was seated upon 
the throne. The Count de Guiche, a very se- 
date, thoughtful, precocious child, was placed 
upon the steps, that his undoubted propriety of 
behavior might be a pattern to the infant king. 
Both of the children behaved remarkably well. 
Soon after this, at the close of the year 1643, 
the queen, with her household, who had resided 
during the summer in the palace of the Louvre, 
took up her residence in what was then called 
the Cardinal Palace. Tin's magnificent build- 
ing, which had been reared at an enormous ex- 
pense, had been bequeathed by the Cardinal 
Richelieu to the young king. But it was sug- 
gested that it was not decorous that the king 
should inhabit a mansion which bore the name 
of the residence of a subject. Therefore the 
inscription of Cardinal Palace was effaced 

30 Louis XIY. [1643. 

Palais Royal. Apartments of the queen regent. 

from above the doorway, and that of Palais 
Royal placed in its stead. The palace had 
cost the cardinal a sum nearly equal to a mil- 
lion of dollars. This ungrateful disregard of 
the memory of the cardinal greatly displeased 
his surviving friends, and called forth earnest 
remonstrance. But all expostulations were in 
vain. From that day to this the renowned 
mansion has been known only as the " Palais 
Royal." The opposite engraving shows the 
palace as left by the cardinal. Since his day 
the building has been greatly enlarged by ex- 
tending the wings for shops around the whole 
inclosure of the garden. 

Louis XIY. was at this time five vears old. 
The apartments which had been occupied by 
Richelieu were assigned to the dauphin. His 
mother, the queen regent, selected for herself 
rooms far more spacious and elegant. Though 
they were furnished and embellished with ap- 
parently every appliance of luxury, Anne, fond 
of power and display, expended enormous sums 
in adapting them to her taste. The cabinet of 
the regent, in the gorgeousness of its adorn- 
ments, was considered the wonder of Paris. 

Cardinal Mazarin had also a suite of rooms 
assigned him in the palace which looked out 

1643.] Birth and Childhood. 33 

Educational arrangements for Louis XIV. 

upon the Hue des bons Enfans. These house- 
holds were quite distinct, and they were all 
surrounded with much of the pageantry of 
royalty. The superintendence of the educa- 
tion of the young prince was intrusted to the 
cardinal. lie had also his governor, his sub- 
governor, his preceptor, and his valet de cham- 
bre, each of whom must have occupied posts of 
honor rather than of responsibility. The Mar- 
chioness de Senecey, and other ladies of high 
rank, were intrusted with the special care of 
the dauphin until he should attain the age of 
seven years. 

Thus the court of the baby-king was quite 
imposing. From his earliest years he was ac- 
customed to the profonndest homage, and was 
trained to the most rigid rules of etiquette. 
The dauphin early developed a fondness for 
military exercises. Very eagerly he shoulder- 
ed the musket, brandished the sword, and beat 
the drum. The temperament of his brother 
Philip, the duke of Anjou, was very different: 
he was remarkably gentle, quiet, and affection- 
ate. Gradually the baby-court of the dauphin 
was increased by the addition of other lads. 
The young king was the central lum'nary 

around whom they all revolved. By them all 

3-i Louis XIV. [1643. 

Speech of Louis at five years old. 

the dauphin was regarded with a certain kind 
of awe, as if he were a being of a superior, al- 
most of a celestial race. These lads were 
termed " children of honor." They always 
addressed the king, and were addressed in re- 
turn, with the formality of full-grown men. 
One day a little fellow named Louienie de- 
limited the kino; with a p/ift. The kin or was 
amusing himself with a crossbow, which for 
the time being happened to be in special favor. 
He loaned the bow for a few moments to Lo- 
menie. Soon, however, anxious to regain the 
valued plaything, he held out his hand to take 
it back. His governess, the Marchioness de 
Senecey, said to him, aside, 

" Sire, kin^s give what they lend." 

O o t/ 

Louis, immediately approaching his compan- 
ion, said, calmly, " Monsieur de Lomenie, keep 
the cross-bow. I wish that it were something 
of more importance ; but, such as it is, I give 
it to you with all my heart." 

This was a speech of a boy of five years old 
to a companion of the same age. When the 
dauphin reached his seventh birthday, a great 
change took place in his household. All his 
female attendants were withdrawn, and he was 
placed exclusively under the charge of men. 

1643.] Birth and Childhood. 35 

Dislikes the change of teachers. Interest in history. 

It is said that this change was at first the occa- 
sion of much grief to him. lie had become 
much attached to many of the ladies, who had 
devoted themselves to the promotion of his 
happiness. We are told that he was greatly 
chagrined to find that none of the gentlemen 
of his court could tell him any of those beau- 
tiful fairy tales with which the ladies had often 
lulled him to sleep. In conference with the 
queen upon the subject, it was decided that M. 
Laporte, his first valet de chambre, should read 
to him every night a chapter of a very popular 
history of France. The dauphin soon became 
greatly interested in the narrative. lie de- 
clared that he, when he grew up, would be a 
Charlemagne, a St. Louis, a Francis First, and 
expressed great abhorrence of the tyrannical 
and slothful kings. 

The pleasure which the little king took in 
these historical readings daily increased. Car- 
dinal Mazarin accidentally found out what was 
going on, and was greatly displeased. He was 
anxious that the intellectual powers of the king 
should not be developed, for the cardinal de* 
sired to grasp the reins of government with his 
own hands. To do this, it was necessary that 
the king should be kept ignorant, and should 
be incited only to enervating indulgence* 

36 Louis XIV. [1643. 

Mazarin's wicked policy. Henrietta, queen of Charles L 

Scornfully the cardinal remarked, u I pre- 
sume the governor of the king must put on his 
shoes and stockings, as I perceive his valet de 
chambre is teaching him history." 

The young king entertained an instinctive 
aversion to the proud cardinal, who assumed 
imperial airs, and who was living in splendor 
far surpassing that of the regent or of the child 
king. Those who surrounded the prince were 
equally inimical to the cardinal-minister, who, 
in that age of superstition and fanaticism, had 
attained such power that the regent herself 
stood in awe of him. 

Henrietta, queen of England, wife of the un- 
fortunate Charles I., was a daughter of Henry 
IV., and sister of Louis XIII. She was con- 
sequently aunt to the dauphin. The troubles 
in England, which soon led to the beheading 
of the king her husband, rendered it necessary 
for her to escape to France. Her brother, 
Monsieur, duke of Orleans, went to the coast to 
receive his unhappy and royal sister. As the} 7 
approached Paris, the queen regent and her son 
the king rode out to meet them. Henrietta 
took a seat in the same carriage with their 
majesties, and returned with them to the Lou- 
vre. The pallid cheeks and saddened features 

104:6.] Bikth and Childhood. 37 

Figure and bearing of the king. 

of the English queen proclaimed so loudly the 
woes with which she was stricken as to exert 
universal sympathy. 

The young king at seven years of age was 
tall, muscular, and excelled in all physical ex- 
ercises ; but the villainous cardinal had en- 
deavored in every way to dwarf his intellect, 
so that his mind remained almost a blank. 
Both the young king and his brother at this 
early age had acquired a very remarkable de- 
gree of courtly grace. A chronicler of the 
times, speaking of the bearing of Louis at a 
court wedding, says, 

" The king, with the gracefulness which 
shines in all his actions, took the hand of the 
Queen of Poland, and conducted her to the 
platform, where his majesty opened the dance, 
and was followed by nearly all the princes, 
princesses, great nobles, and ladies of the court. 
At its termination, the king, with the same 
grace and majestic deportment, conducted the 
young queen to her place. The king then 
danced a second time, and led out the Duke 
of Anjou with such skill that every one was 
charmed with the polite bearing of these two 
young princes." 

Early in the year 1$46, the king, not yet 

38 Louis XIV. [1646. 

His first campaign. The cardinal's nieces. 

quite eight years old, was conducted upon what 
was singularly called his first campaign. The 
queen and her son repaired to Amiens, where 
they sojourned for a short time with the army, 
and established a very brilliant court. When 
the army left Amiens for Flanders, the regent 
and her son returned from their campaign. 

The infant court of the monarch was now 
established at Paris. The ambitious cardinal 
had brought from Italy several little children, 
his relatives, the eldest of whom had attained 
but her twelfth year. They were immediately 
introduced to the court of Louis XIY. The 
wealth of the cardinal was such, and his infiu- 
ence so great, that, young as these his nieces 
were, they were instantly surrounded by ad- 
mirers. The Duke of Orleans, who hated the 
cardinal and all that belonged to him, bitterly 

" There is such a throng about those little 
girls that I doubt if their lives are safe, and 
if they will not be suffocated." 

The boy-king, however, notwithstanding his 
dislike for the cardinal, received the little girls 
with that gallantry for which throughout life 
he was distinguished. 

Very early he began to develop quite a poa« 

1646.] Birth and Childhood. 39 

Anecdote. Feud between Mazarin and the Parliament. 

itive character. On one occasion the courtiers 
were speaking in his presence of the absolute 
power exercised by the sultans of Turkey. 
Several very striking examples were given. 
The young prince, who had listened attentive- 
ly, remarked, 

" That is as it should be ; that is really reign- 

" Yes, sire," pertinently replied Marshal d'Es- 
trees, " but two or three of those sultans have, 
within my memory, been strangled." 

The Prince de Conde inquired of Laporte, 
the first valet of the king, respecting the char- 
acter his young majesty was developing. Upon 
being told that he was conscientious and intel- 
ligent, he replied, " So much the better. There 
would be no pleasure in obeying a fool, and 
no honor in being commanded by a bad man." 

Cardinal Mazarin, the prime minister, who 
looked with jealousy upon any development of 
superior intelligence in the dauphin, said to 
Marshal de Grammont, " Ah ! sir, you do not 
know his majesty. There is enough stuff in 
him to make four kings and an honest man." 

There had gradually sprung up a deadly 
feud between the court, headed by the tyran- 
nical minister Mazarin on the one side, and by 

40 Louis XIV. [1648. 

Alarm of Mazarin. 

i ■ ■ ■ 

the Parliament on the other. The populace 
of Paris were in sympathy with the Parlia- 
ment. Many of the prominent nobles, some 
even of royal blood, detesting the haughty 
prime minister, espoused the Parliamentary 
cause. There were riots in Paris. Affairs 
looked very threatening. Mazarin was alarm- 
ed, and decided to escape from Paris with the 
court to the palace of St. Germain. There he 
could protect the court with an ample military 
force. He thought, also, that he should be able 
to cut off the supply of provisions from the 
capital, and thus starve the city into subjection. 

It was necessary to move with much caution, 
as the people were greatly agitated, were fill- 
ing the streets with surging crowds, and would 
certainly prevent the removal of the king 
should they suspect the design. The night of 
the 5th of Jannary was selected as a time in 
which to attempt the escape. The matter was 
kept profoundly secret from most of the mem- 
bers of the roval household. 

At three o'clock in the morning a carriage 
was drawn up in the gate of the royal garden. 
The queen regent, who, to avoid suspicion, had 
retired to bed at the usual hour, had in the 
mean time risen and was prepared for her 

1648.] Birth and Childhood. 41 

Escape of the royal family from Paris. Flight of the court. 

flight. The young king and his brother were 
awoke from their sleep, hurriedly dressed, and 
conveyed to the carriage in waiting. The 
queen regent, with several other prominent 
members of the court, descended the back 
stairs which led from the queen's apartment 
and joined the children. Immediately one or 
two other carriages drove up, and the whole 
party entered them, and by different routes, 
through the dark and narrow streets, left the 
city. It was a short ride of about twelve 

Other prominent members of the court, re- 
siding in different parts of the city, had been 
apprised of the movement, so that at five 
o'clock in the morning twenty carriages, con- 
taining one hundred and fifty persons, drove 
into the court-yard of the palace. One of the 
ladies who accompanied the expedition, Mad- 
emoiselle Montpensier, gives the following 
graphic description of the scene : 

"When we arrived at St. Germain we went 
straight to the chapel to hear mass. All the 
rest of the day was spent in questioning those 
who arrived as to what they were doing in 
Paris. The drums were beating all over the 
city, and the citizens had taken up arms. The 

42 Louis XIV. [1048. 

■ - 

Discomfort of the court at St. Germain. 

Countess de Fiesque sent me a coach, and a 
mattress, and a little linen. As I was in so 
sorry a condition, I went to seek help at the 
Chateau Neuf, where Monsieur and Madame 
were lodged ; but Madame had not her clothes 
any more than myself. Nothing could be 
more laughable than this disorder. I lodged 
in a large room, well painted and gilded, with 
but little fire, which is not agreeable in the 
month of January. My mattress was laid 
upon the floor, and my sister, who had no bed, 
slept with me. Judge it I were agreeably sit- 
uated for a person who had slept but little the 
previous night, with sore throat and violent 

" Fortunately for me, the beds of Monsieur 
and Madame arrived. Monsieur had the kind- 
ness to give me the room which he vacated. 
As I was in the apartment of Monsieur, where 
no one knew that I was lodged, I was awoke 
by a noise. I drew back my curtain, and was 
much astonished to find my chamber quite 
filled by men in large buff skin collars, who ap- 
peared surprised to see me, and who knew me 
as little as I knew them. 

" I had no change of linen, and my day che- 
mise was washed during the night. I had no 

1648.] Birth and Childhood. 43 

Excitement in Paris. 

women to arrange my hair and dress me, which 
is very- inconvenient. I ate with Monsieur, 
who keeps a very bad table. Still I did not 
lose my gayety, and Monsieur was in admira- 
tion at my making no complaint. It is true I 
am a creature who can make the best of every 
thing, and am greatly above trifles. I remain- 
ed in this state ten days, at the end of which 
time my equipage arrived, and I was very glad 
to have all my comforts. I then went to lodge 
in the chateau Yieux, where the queen was re- 

At a very early hour in the morning the 
news was circulated through the streets of 
Paris that the court had fled from the city, 
taking with it the young king. The excite- 
ment was terrible, creating universal shouts 
and tumults. All who were in any way con- 
nected with the court attempted to escape in 
various disguises to join the royal party. The 
populace, on the other hand, closed the gates, 
and barricaded the streets, to prevent their 

* There were at that time two palaces at St. Germain. 
The old palace, originally built by Charles V., and in the al- 
teration of which Louis XIV. spent over a million of dollars, 
still remains. The new palace, constructed by Henry IV 
/bout a quarter of a mile from the other, is now in ruins. 

44 Louis XIV. [1648. 

Issue of a parliamentary decree. 

flight. In the midst of this confusion, a letter 
was received by the municipal magistrates, 
over the signature of the boy -king, stating that 
he had been compelled to leave the capital to 
prevent the seizure of his person by the Par- 
liament, and urging the magistrates x Jo all 
in their power for the preservation of order 
and for the protection of property. The king 
also ordered the Parliament immediately to 
retire from the citv to Montanns. 

The Parliament refused to recognize the or- 
der, declaring " that it did not emanate from 
the monarch himself, but from the evil coun- 
selors by whom he was held in captivity." 
Upon the reception of this reply, the queen re- 
gent, who had surrounded her palace at St. 
Germain with a thousand royal troops, acting 
under the guidance of Mazarin, issued a decree 
forbidding the villages around Paris sending 
into the capital either bread, wine, or cattle. 
Troops were also stationed to cut off such sup- 
plies. This attempt to subdue the people by 
the terrors of famine excited intense exasper- 
ation. A decree was promptly issued by the 
Parliament stating, 

" Since Cardinal Mazarin is notoriously the 
author of the present troubles, the Parliament 

1648.] Birth and Childhood, 45 

Origin of the names Fronde and Mazarins. 

declares him to be the disturber of the public 
peace, the enemy of the king and the state, 
and orders him to retire from the court in the 
course of this day, and in eight days more from 
the kingdom. Should he neglect to do this, at 
the expiration of the appointed time all the 
subjects of the king are called upon to hunt 
him down." 

At the same time, men-at-arms were levied 
in sufficient numbers to escort safely into tho 
city all those who would bring in provisions. 
The Parliament, from the populace of Paris, 
could bring sixty thousand bayonets upon any 
field of battle. Thus very serious civil war 
was inaugurated. 

As we have mentioned, many of the nobles, 
some of whom were allied to the royal family, 
assuming that they were not contending against 
their legitimate sovereign, the young king, but 
against the detested Mazarin, were in cordial 
co-operation with the Parliament. The people 
in the rural districts were also in sympathy 
with the party in Paris. 

The court party was now called " The Maz 
arms" and those of the Parliament " The 
Fronde." The literal meaning of the word 
fronde is sling. It is a boy's plaything, and. 

46 Louis XIV. [1648. 

Two rival courts. Straw scarce. 

when skillfully used, an important weapon of 
war. It was with the sling that David slew 
Goliath. During the Middle Ages this was the 
usual weapon of the foot soldiers. Mazarin 
had contemptuously remarked that the Parlia- 
ment were like school-boys, fronding in the 
ditches, and who ran away at the approach of 
a policeman. The Parliament accepted the 
title, and adopted the fronde or sling as the 
emblem of their party. 

There were now two rival courts in France. 
The one at St. Germain was in a state of great 
destitution. The palace was but partially fur- 
nished, and not at all capable of affording 
comfortable accommodations for the crowd 
which thronged its apartments. Nothing could 
be obtained from Paris. Their purses were 
empty. The rural population was hostile, and, 
while eager to carry their products to Paris, 
were unwilling to bring them to St, Germain. 
Madame de Motteville states in her memoirs 
" that the king, queen, and cardinal were sleep- 
ing upon straw, which soon became so scarce 

that it could not be obtained for monev." 


The court of the Fronde was assembled at 
the Hotel de Ville in Paris. There all was 
splendor, abundance, festive enjoyment. The 

1650.] Birth and Childhood. 47 

Character of Mazarin. Termination of the war. 

high rank of the leaders and the beauty of the 
ladies gave eclat to the gathering. 

Cardinal Mazarin was not only extortionate, 
but miserly, lie had accumulated an enor- 
mous property. All this was seized and ap- 
propriated by the Fronde. Though there were 
occasional skirmishes between the forces of the 
two factions, neither of them seemed disposed 
to plunge into the horrors of civil war. 

The king sent a herald, clad in complete ar- 
mor and accompanied by two trumpeters, to 
the Parliament. The Fronde refused to re- 
ceive the herald, but decided to send a deputa- 
tion to the king to ascertain what overtures he 
was willing to make. After a lengthy confer- 
ence a not very satisfactory compromise was 
agreed upon, and tile royal^Fugitives returned 
to Paris. It was the 5th of April, 1650. A 
Te Deum was chanted with great pomp at the 
cathedral of Notre Dame. 

" Thus terminated the first act of the most 
singular, bootless, and, we are almost tempted 
to add, burlesque war which, in all probability, 
Europe ever witnessed. Throughout its whole 
duration society appeared to have been smitten 
with some moral hallucination. Kings and 
cardinals slept on mattresses, princesses and 

48 Louis XIV. [1650. 

Society reversed. 

duchesses on straw. Market-women embraced 
princes, prelates governed armies, court ladies 
led the mob, and the mob, in its turn, ruled the 

* Louis XIV. and the Court of France, vol. i., p. 2£2. 

1650.] The Boy-King. 49 

M. de Retz. Fears of Mazarin. 

Chapter II. 
The Boy-King. 

THE reconciliation between the court and 
the Fronde was very superficial. The old 
antagonism soon reappeared, and daily grew 
more rancorous. To add to the embarrass- 
ment of the court, Monsieur, the duke of Or- 
leans, became alienated from Mazarin, and 
seemed inclined to join the Fronde. The most 
formidable antagonist of the cardinal in the 
Parliament was M. de Rctz. He was coadju- 
tor of the Archbishop of Paris, a man of con- 
summate address and great powers of elo- 

The struggle between De Petz and Mazarin 
soon became one of life and death. The co- 
adjutor was at length imboldened to offer a 
decree in Parliament urging the king to ban- 
ish from his presence and his councils Cardi- 
nal Mazarin. This measure threw the court 
into consternation. The cardinal was appre- 
hensive of arrest. Some of his friends urged 

him to retire immediately to a fortress. Oth- 

50 Jt Louis XIV. [1650. 

Escape of the cardinal. 

ers proposed to garrison the Palais Ro} T al and 
its neighborhood with an efficient guard. 

From the saloons of the palace the shouts 
were heard of the excited populace swarming 
through the streets. ISo one could tell to what 
extremes of violence they might proceed. 
Warned bv these hostile demonstrations, the 
cardinal decided to escape from Paris. At 
ten o'clock at night he took leave of the queen 
regent, hastened to his apartments, exchanged 
his ecclesiastical costume for a dress in which 
he was entirely disguised, and on foot thread- 
ed the dark streets to escape from the city. 
Two of his friends accompanied him. At the 
Richelieu Gate they took horses, which were 
awaiting them there, and in two hours alighted 
at the palace of St. Germain. 

M. de Petz, through his spies, was immedi- 
ately informed of the flight of the cardinal. 
He at once hastened to communicate the in- 
telligence to Momieur. The duke at first 
could not credit the statement, as he felt as- 
sured that Mazarin would not have left with- 
out taking the young king with him. Should 
the cardinal, in his retreat, gain possession of 
the king, in whose name he would issue all hia 
orders, it would be hardly possible to avoid the 

1650.] The Boy-King. 3<£7& 51 

Dangers of civil war. Alarm and energy of De Retz. 

horrors of a desolating civil war. All minds 
in Paris, from the highest to the lowest, were 
thrown into a state of the most intense excite- 

On the night of the second day after the 
cardinal's flight, M. de Retz was awakened by 
a messenger, who informed him that the Duke 
of Orleans was anxious to see him immediate- 
ly at the palace of the Luxembourg. The co- 
adjutor rose, hastily dressed, and in great anx- 
iety repaired to the palace. The duke, though 
lieutenant general of the kingdom, was a very 
timid man, and exceedingly inefficient in ac- 
tion. As they entered the chamber of the 
duke, he listlessly said to M. de Petz, 

"It is just as you said. The king is about 
to leave Paris ; what shall we do ? I do not 
see what can be done to prevent it." 

The resolute coadjutor replied, "We must 
immediately take possession of the city gates." 

But the inert and weak duke brought for- 
ward sundry silly excuses. lie had not suffi- 
cient force of character or moral courage to 
commit himself to any decisive course of ac- 
tion. The only measure he could be induced 
to adopt was to send a message to the queen 
regent, imploring her to reflect upon the con- 


The populace aroused. 

Louis XIV. 


Palace of the Luxembourg. 

sequences which would inevitably result from 
the removal of the king from Paris. In the 
mean time, the resolute and fearless coadjutor 
sent his emissaries in all directions. The pop- 
ulace were aroused with the cry that Mazarin 
was about to carry off the king. The gates of 


the city were seized. Mounted patrols trav- 
ersed the streets urging the citizens to arms. 
An enormous crowd of excited men and wom- 
en rushed toward the Palais Royal. 

The carriages were, in fact, at that hour, at 
the appointed rendezvous for the midnight 
flight of the king and his attendants. The 
young monarch was already in his traveling 

1650.] The Boy-King. 53 

Discovery of the attempted flight of the royal family. 

dress, just about to descend the stairs of the 
palace, when the queen was apprised, by the 
tumult in the streets, that the design was dis- 
covered, and that consequently its execution 
was impracticable. 

With the utmost precipitancy, the traveling 
dress of the king was removed, and he was 
robed in hk night garments, replaced in bed, 
and urged to feign that he was asleep. Scarce- 
ly was this accomplished ere one of the officers 
of the household entered and announced to the 
queen that the exasperated mob was threaten- 
ing the palace, insisting upon seeing the king, 
that they might satisfy themselves that he had 
not been carried away. While lie was speak- 
ing, another messenger entered with the an- 
nouncement that the mob had already proceed- 
ed to violence, and were tearing down the pal- 
isades of the palace. While he was yet speak- 
ing, a messenger from the Duke of Orleans ar- 
rived, imploring the queen regent not to at- 
tempt the removal of the king, and assuring 
her that it was impossible to do so, since the 
citizens were resolved to prevent it. 

The queen, with dignity, listened to all. To 
the messenger of the Duke of Orleans she 
haughtily replied, 

54 Louis XIV. [1650. 

Haughty reply of Anne of Austria. Courage of the queen mother. 

" Say to the duke that he, instigated by the 
coadjutor, has caused this tumult, and that he 
has power to allay it. That nothing can be 
more unfounded than the idea that there has 
been any design to remove the king. That 
both his majesty and his brother, the Duke of 
Anjou, are asleep in their beds, as I myself had 
been until the uproar in the streets had caused 
me to rise," To satisfy the messenger, M. de 
Souches, she led him into the chamber of the 
king, and showed him his majesty apparently 
soundly asleep. 

As they were softly retiring from the room, 
the outcry of the populace filling the court- 
yard was heard shouting " The king ! the 
king ! we must see the king." The queen re- 
gent hesitated for a moment, and then, with 
wonderful presence of mind, and with moral 
and physical courage rarely equaled, turning 
to the envoy of Monsieur, said, 

" Say to the people that the doors of the 
palace shall be immediately thrown open, and 
that every one who wishes may enter the 
chamber of the king. But inform them that 
his majesty is asleep, and request them to be 
as quiet as is possible." 

M. Souches obeyed. The doors were open- 

1650.] The Boy-King. 55 

Respectful conduct of the populace. 

ed. The mob rushed in. Nevertheless, con- 
trary to all expectation, they had no sooner 
reached the royal apartment than their leaders, 
remembering that their king was sleeping, de- 
sired the untimely visitors to proceed in per- 
fect quiet. As the human tide moved onward, 
their very breathing was suppressed. They 
trod the floor with softest footsteps. The 
same tumultuous multitude that had howled, 
and yelled, and threatened outside the gates, 
now, in the chamber of the sovereign, became 
calm, respectful, and silent. They approached 
the royal bed with a feeling of affectionate 
deference, which restrained every intruder 
from drawing back the curtains. 

The queen herself performed this office. 
She stood at the pillow of her son, beautiful in 
features, of queenly grace in form and stature. 
Pale, calm, and dignified as though she were 
performing some ordinary court ceremonial, 
she gathered back the folds of the velvet dra- 
pery, and revealed to the gaze of the people 
their young sovereign in all the beauty of 
youth, and apparently in profound slumber. 

This living stream of men and women from 
the streets of Paris continued to flow through 
the chamber until three o'clock in the morn- 

56 Louis XIV. [1650, 

Fortitude of the regent. The queen regent dissembles. 

ing, entering at one door and passing out at its 
opposite. Through this trying scene the queen 
never faltered. 

" Like a marble statue," writes Miss Pardoe, 
" she retained her position, firm and motionless, 
her majestic figure drawn haughtily to its full 
height, and her magnificent arm resting in 
broad relief upon the crimson draperies. And 
still the boy -king, emulating the example of 
his royal parent, remained immobile, with 
closed eyes and steady breathing, as though 
his rest had remained unbroken by the incur- 
sion of his rebellious subjects. It was a sin- 
gular and marked passage in the life of both 
mother and son."* 

In those days and at that court falsehood 
was deemed an indispensable part of diploma- 
cy. In the afternoon of the same day in 
which the scene we have described occurred, 
the queen assembled in her saloon in the pal- 
ace the prominent magistrates of the city. 
With firm voice and undaunted eye, she as- 
sured them that she had never entertained the 
slightest idea of removing his majesty from 
the city. She enjoined it upon them vigilant- 
ly to continue to guard the gates, that the pop 
* Louis XIV. and the Court of France, vol. i., page 351. 

1650.] The Boy-King. 57 

Vigilauce of Monsieur. 

ulace might be convinced that no design of 
escape was cherished. Her words were not 
believed; her directions were obeyed. The 
gates were rigidly closed. Thus the king wag 
a prisoner. 

The apprehensions of the Fronde, that by 
some stratagem the king might be removed, 
were so great that Monsieur dispatched a gen- 
tleman of his household every night to ascer- 
tain if the king were quietly in his bed. The 
messenger, M. Desbuehes, carried a nightly 
greeting to the queen, with orders not to leave 
the Palais Royal without seeing the young 
sovereign. The excuse for this intrusion was, 
that Monsieur could not, without this evidence, 
satisfy the excited citizens that the king was 
safe. This was a terrible humiliation to the 
queen regent. 

Cardinal Mazarin, having passed the night 
at St. Germain, commenced traveling bv slow 
stages toward Havre. lie was expecting every 
hour to be joined by the queen regent and 
other members of the royal household. He 
was, however, overtaken by a courier, who an- 
nounced to him what had transpired in Paris, 
and tli at the escape of the royal family was 
impossible. The cardinal thus found himself 

58 Louis XIY. [1651. 

Cardinal Mazarin in exile. Majority of the danphin attained. 

really in exile, and earnest endeavors were 
made by the Fronde to induce the qneen re- 
gent to secure a cardinal's hat for M. de Retz, 
and make him her prime minister. The last 
act of the queen regent was the issuing of a 
decree that Mazarin was banished forever from 
the kingdom. 

Such was the posture of affairs when, on the 
5th of September, 1651, the minority of the 
dauphin ceased. He now entered upon his 
fourteenth year, and, immature boy as he was, 
was declared to be the absolute monarch of 

It was immediatel} T announced to the Par 
liament by the grand master of ceremonies 
that on the seventh day of the month the king 
would hold his bed of justice. This name was 
given to the throne which the king took at ex- 
traordinary meetings of Parliament. The bed, 
or couch, was furnished with five cushions, and 
stood under a gorgeous canopy. Upon this 
couch the king extended himself, leaning upon 
the cushions. 

The ceremony was attended with all the 
pomp which the wealth and taste of the em- 
pire could create. As, in the morning, the 
court left the Palais Royal, a band of trumpet- 

1651.] The Boy- King. 59 

Imposing ceremony. Appearance of Louis XIV. 

ers led the van, causing the air to resound with 
their bugle peals. These were followed by a 
troop of light-horse, succeeded by two hundred 
of the highest nobility of France, splendidly 
mounted and in dazzling array. But it is vain 
to attempt to describe the gorgeous procession 
of dignitaries, mounted on tall war-horses, ca- 
parisoned with housings embroidered with sil- 
ver and gold, and accompanied by numerous 
retainers. The attire of these attendants, from 
the most haughty man of arms to the humblest 
page, was as varied, picturesque, and glittering 
as human ingenuity could devise. 

The young king himself rode upon a mag- 
nificent cream-colored charger. He was a 
beautiful boy, well formed and tall for his age. 
Apparently deeply impressed with the grand- 
eur of the occasion, he appeared calm and dig- 
nified to a degree which attracted the admira- 
tion, of every beholder. As he sat gracefully 
upon his horse, lie appeared almost like a gold- 
en statue, for his dress was so elaborately era. 
broidered with gold that neither its material 
or its color could be distinguished. His high- 
mettled charger became frightened by the 
shouts of " Long live the king" which burst so 
enthusiastically from the lips of the crowd. 

60 Louis XIY. [1651. 

Address of Louis. Address of the queen regent. 

Put Louis managed the animal with so much 
skill and self-possession as to increase the ad- 
miration with which all seemed to regard him. 
After attending mass, the young monarch took 
his seat in the Parliament. Here the boy of 
thirteen, covering his head, while all the nota- 
bilities of France stood before him with heads 
uncovered, repeated the following words : 

" Gentlemen, — I have attended my Parlia- 
ment in order to inform you that, according 
to the law of my kingdom, I shall mj^self as- 
sume its government. I trust that, by the 
goodness of God, it will be with piety and jus- 
tice. My chancellor will inform you more 
particularly of my intentions." 

The chancellor then made a long address. 
At its conclusion the queen mother rose and 
said to her son : 

" Sire, — This is the ninth year in which, by 
the last will of the deceased king, my much 
honored lord, I have been intrusted with the 
care of your education and the government of 
the state. God having by his will blessed my 
endeavors, and preserved your person, which 
is so precious to your subjects, now that the 
law of the kingdom calls you to the rule of 
this monarchy, I transfer to you, with great 

1651.] The Boy-King. 61 

Reply of Louis. Power of the King of France. 

satisfaction, the power which had been granted 
me to govern. I trust that God will aid you 
with his strength and wisdom, that your reign 
may be prosperous." 

To this the king replied, " I thank you, ma- 
dame, for the care which it has pleased you to 
take of my education and the administration 
of my kingdom. I pray you to continue to 
me your good advice, and desire that, after my- 
self, you should be the head of my council." 

The mother and the son embraced each oth- 
er, and then resumed their conspicuous seats 
on the platform. The king's brother, Philip, 
duke of Anjou, next rose, and, sinking upon 
his knee, took the oath of allegiance to his roy- 
al brother. lie was followed in this act by 
all the civil and ecclesiastical notabilities. The 
royal procession returned to the gates of the 
Palais Royal, greeted apparently by the unani- 
mous acclamations of the people. 

Thus a stripling, who had just completed his 
thirteenth year, was accepted by the nobles 
and by the populace as the absolute and un- 
trammeled sovereign of France. He held in 
his hands virtually, unrestrained by constitu- 
tion or court, their liberties, their fortunes, and 
their lives. It is often said that every nation 

62 Louis XIV. [1651. 

Gallantry of Louis. 

has as good a government as it deserves. In 
republican America, it seems incredible that a 
nation of twenty millions of people could have 
been guilty of the folly of surrendering them- 
selves to the sway of a pert, weak, immature 
boy of thirteen years. 

The young king, in those early years, was 
celebrated for his gallantry. A bevy of young 
beauties, from the most illustrious families in 
the realm, crowded his court. The matter of 
the marriage of the king was deemed of verv 

CD CD t/ 

great moment. According to the etiquette of 
the times, it was thought necessary that he 
should marry a lady of royal blood. It would 
have been esteemed a degradation for him to 
select the daughter of the highest noble, unless 
that noble were of the royal family. But these 
pretty girls were not unconscious of the power 
of their charms. The haughtv Anne of Aus 
tria was constantly harassed by the flirtations 
in which the young king was continually en- 
gaging with these lovelv maidens of the court. 
Louis by nature, and still more by education, 
was egotistical, haughty, and overbearing. His 
brother Philip, on the contrary, was gentle, re- 
tiring, and effeminate. The young king wish- 
ed to be the handsomest man of his court, the 

1C51.J The Boy-King. 63 

Influence of Anne andMazarin upon Louis. 

most brilliant in wit, and the most fascinating 
in the graces of social life. He was very jeal- 
ous of any one of his companions who might 
be regarded as his rival in personal beauty, or 
in any intellectual or courtly accomplishment. 
II is mother encouraged this feeling. She de- 
sired that her son should stand in his court 
without a peer. 

Still Anne of Austria, in conjunction with 
Cardinal Mazarin, had done what she could to 
check the intellectual growth of her son. 
Wishing to retain power as long as possible, 
they had manifested no disposition to with- 
draw young Louis from the frivolities of child- 
hood. His education had been grossly neglect* 
ed. Though entirely familiar with the routine 
of his devotional exercises, and all the punctil- 
ios of court etiquette, he was in mental culture 
and general intelligence far below ordinary 
school-boys of his age. 

Though the king was nominally the absolute 
ruler of France, still there were outside influ- 
ences which exerted over him a great control. 
There is no such thing as independent power. 
All are creatures of circumstances. There 
were two antagonistic forces brought to bear 
upon the young kinor. Anne of Austria for 

64 Louis XIV. [165L 

Conflict between the court and Parliament. 

nine years had been regent. "With the aid of 
her prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, she had 
governed the realm. This power could not at 
once and entirely pass from their hands to the 
ignorant boy who was dallying with the little 
beauties in the saloons of the Palais Royal. 
Though Mazarin was in exile — an exile to 
which the queen regent had been compelled to 
assent — still he retained her confidence, and 
an influence over her mind. 

On the other hand, there was the Parlia- 
ment, composed mainly of proud, haughty, 
powerful nobles, the highest dignitaries of 
Church and State. This body was under the 
leadership of the coadjutor, M. de Petz. The 
antagonism between the Parliament and the 
court was by no means appeased. The great 
conflict now rose, which continued through 
months and years, between them, as to w T hich 
should obtain the control of the king. Im- 
pelled by the action of the Parliament, the 
king had applied to the pope for a cardinal's 
hat to be conferred upon M. de Petz. This 
dignity attained would immeasurably increase 
the power of the coadjutor. 

In the mean time, Cardinal Mazarin, who 
had fled to Spain, had re-entered France with 

1652.] The Boy-King. 65 

Mazarin arrives in France. 

an army <f six thousand men. Paris was 
thrown into a state of great agitation. Par- 
lianiei f was immediate^ assembled. The king 
sent them a message requesting the Parlia- 
ment no1 to regard the movements of the car- 
dinal wit 1 ! any anxiety, " since the intentions 
of his eminence were well known by the court." 
This, of course, increased rather than diminish- 
ed the fears of the nobles. Notwithstanding 
the message of the king, a decree was immedi- 
ately passed declaring the cardinal and his ad- 
here) its disturbers of the public peace. The 
card 'mil was outlawed. A sum equal to thir- 
ty thousand dollars, the proceeds of the sale of 
som 3 property of the cardinal, was offered to 
any one who should deliver him either dead 
or alive. Unritimidated, Mazarin continued 
his march toward Paris, arriving at Poictiers 
at f.he end of .Tanuarv, one month after having 
re-entered France. The king, the queen re- 
gent, and Ihe whole court advanced there to 
meet him. Ttay received him with the great- 
est demonstrations of joy. 

When the news reached the capital that 
Mazarin had thus triumphantly returned, Par- 
liament and the populace were thrown into a 
state of great excitement. The Duk© of Or- 

66 JLouis XIV. [1652. 

Civil war inaugurated. Mazarin's array defeated. 

leans was roused as never before. The hostile 
demonstrations in Paris became so alarming, 
that the royal family adopted the bold resolve 
to return immediately to the capital. The 
king commenced his march at the head of the 
troops of the cardinal. When he reached 
Blois, he tarried there for a couple of days to 
concentrate his forces. Civil war was now in- 
augurated, though on rather a petty scale, be- 
tween the hostile forces in various parts of the 
kingdom. The Prince of Conde was the prom- 
inent leader of the Parliamentary troops. 

The citv of Blois is situated on the ri^ht 
bank of the River Loire, about forty-five miles 
below the city of Orleans, which is also on the 
northern side of the same stream. At Blois, 
the court learned to its consternation that the 
Mazarin army had been attacked at Orleans 
by the Piinc^ de Conde' and utterly routed, 
with the loss of many prisoners, nearly three 
thousand horses, and a large part of its ord- 
nance stores. The royal party, which was at 
this time in a state of great destitution, was 
quite overwhelmed by the disaster. The queen 
ordered all the equipages and baggage to be 
transported to the south side of the Loire, and 
the bridge to be broken down. At midnight, 

1652.], The Boy-King. 67 

Depression of the regent. Monsieur. 

in the midst of a scene of great terror and 
confusion, this movement was accomplished. 
As the morning dawned, the carriages, crowd- 
ed with the ladies of the court, were seen on 
the left bank of the stream, ready for flight. 
The queen was, for the only time in her life, 
so dejected as to seem utterly in despair. She 
feared that the triumph of the Fronde at Or- 
leans would induce every city in the kingdom 
to close its gates against the court. 

The royal fugitives retreated to Montereau. 
In the disorder of the flight they were exposed 
to great privation. Even the young king lost 
several of his best horses. Thence they pro- 
ceeded to Corbeil, on the right bank of the 
Seine, about twelve leagues from Versailles. 
Here a scene occurred which is graphically 
described by M. Laporte, an eye-witness, who 
was a prominent attendant of his majesty. 

" The king," writes Laporte, " insisted that 
Monsieur* should sleep in his room, which 
was so small that but one person could pass at 
a time. In the morning, as they lay awake, 

* As Louis XIV. was now king, his brother Philip, eleven 
years of age. according to usage, took the title of Monsieur. 
The title for a lime adhered still to the Duke of Orleans, 
brother of Louis XIII. 

68 Louis XIV. [1652. 

Ludicrous quarrel of Louis and his brother. 

the king inadvertently spat upon the bed of 
Monsieur, who immediately spat upon the 
king's bed in return. Thereupon Louis, get- 
ting angry, spat in his brother's face. "When 
they could spit no longer, they proceeded to 
drag each other's sheets upon the floor, at : ter 
which they prepared to fight. During this 
quarrel I did what I could to restrain the king. 
As I could not succeed, I sent for M. de V^l- 
leroi, who re-established peace. Monsieur lost 
his temper sooner than the king, but the k ing 
was much more difficult to appease." 

It is very evident that aristocratic titles, and 
all the formalities of court etiquette, do not 
change the nature of boyhood. Though one 
of these little belligerents bore the title of 
Louis XIV., king of France, and the other was 
called Monsieur, the duke of Anjou, they were 
in character like all other ungoverned and un- 
governable boys. 

The court, not venturing to enter Paris, pur- 
sued its way by a circuitous route to St. Ger- 
main, leaving the city on the left. Here an 
additional gloom was cast over their spirits by 
the intelligence of very decided acts of hostil- 
ity manifested against them by the inhabitants 
of the metropolis. The court was in a state 

1652.] The Boy-King. 69 

Embarrassment of the court. Conflict at Etampes. 

of ^reat embarrassment, without any money, 
and without possibility of obtaining stores from 
the capital. It was supposed that Cardinal 
Mazarin, noted for his selfishness, had taken 
good care of himself. But he declared that 
he was as poor as the meanest soldier in the 

While at St. Germain, there was another pet- 
ty conflict between the Parliamentary forces 
and those of the court in the vicinity of 
Etampes, about forty miles from Versailles. 
Tho Fronde was routed with loss. The glad 
tidings was brought by a courier at night to St. 
Germain. The news was too good to be kept 
till morning. M.Villeroi, to whom it was at 
first communicated, hastened to the chamber 
of the king and the Duke of Anjou, to awake 
them from sleep and inform them of the vic- 
tory. They both, Laporte informs us, sprang 
from their beds, and rushed, in their slippers, 
night caps, and dressing-gowns, to the chamber 
of the cardinal, whom they awakened with the 
joyful tidings. He hurried in his turn with 
them, and in the same unsophisticated costume^ 
to the chamber of the queen, to announce the 
intelligence to her. 

The destitution of Louis XIV. while at St. 

TO Louis XIV. [1652. 

Destitution of Louis XIV. Scenes of the conflict at Etampes. 

Germain was such that he borrowed one hun- 
dred and ten francs from Moreau, one of his 
valets, for some replenishment of his wardrobe. 
Subsequently the valet, learning that the king 
had obtained possession of one hundred louts 
cPor, applied for payment of the debt ; but the 
king had already expended the coin. 

The routed troops of Conde took refuge 
within the walls of Etampes. The court, in its 
elation, immediately proceeded from St. Ger- 
main to the scene of conflict, to take part in 
the siege. This was the first serious campaign 
of the young king. As, attended by his suite, 
he examined the works, he was at one time 
under fire, and several bullets passed near him. 
Still young as he was, he had sufficient regard 
for his reputation and control over himself not 
to manifest the slightest fear. 

The scenes of war which here presented 
themselves to the young monarch were painful 
in the extreme. He was every where sur- 
rounded by sick and dying soldiers. But he 
had no money with which to relieve their mis- 
ery, and when finally the city of Etampes was 
taken, the spectacle of starvation, woe, and 
death was more awful than words can express. 

As the king was entering the city, he passed 

1652.] The Boy-King. 71 

Retreat of Conde. Battle at St. Antoine. 

a group lying upon the ground, consisting ot 
a mother and three children, huddled closely 
together. The mother had died of starvation. 
Two of the skeleton children were also dead 
by her side, and the third, a babe, was strain- 
ing at the exhausted breast, which could no 
longer afford it any nourishment. 1/ 

The Prince de Conde* retreated to Paris with 
about three thousand men. The royal troops, 
eight thousand in number, pursued. Each par- 
ty gathered re-enforcements, so that the Prince 
de Conde, with about five thousand men, held 
at bay the royal troops, then numbering about 
ten thousand. The citizens, as we have men- 
tioned, were in sympathy with the Parliament. 
They hated Cardinal Mazarin, and with good 
reason regarded the king as a prisoner in his 
hands. The king also detested Mazarin per- 
sonally, while the force of circumstances com- 
pelled him to regard the cardinal as the advo- 
cate of the roval cause. 

A very severe battle w T as fought between 
the two parties in the Faubourg St. Antoine. 
The ranks of the Fronde, shattered by over- 
powering numbers, were, in a disordered re- 
treat, hotly pursued by their foes under Mar- 
shal Turenne. The carnage was dreadful. 

72 Louis XI Y. [1652. 

Cardinal Mazarin forced to retire. 

Suddenly the cannon of the Bastile flamed out 
in rapid succession, hurling their deadly shot 
through the compact masses of the Royalists. 
They recoiled and fled in confusion. Paris 
was in the hands of the Fronde. The popu- 
lace surged through the streets, shouting "Long 
live the king ! Death to Mazarin I" 

The cardinal, taking the king with him, re- 
tired to St. Denis. Turenne re-collected his 
scattered forces at Pontoise, about twenty miles 
north from Versailles. The cardinal, with the 
king, took refuge at that place in the centre 
of Turenne's army. Here the king issued an 
ordinance, transferring the Pailiamcnt from 
Paris to Pontoise; but the Parliament replied 
"that they could not obey the royal command 
so long as Cardinal Mazarin, whom lliey had 
outlawed, remained in France." They also is- 
sued an ordinance of their own, forbidding any 
member of the Parliament to leave Paris. The 
king, we know not under what influences, ac- 
quiesced in both of these decrees. VI rs led 
the cardinal immediately to tender his lesigna- 
tion and retire. This important step changed 
the whole aspect of affairs. After the *e noval 
of the cardinal, all opposition to the con ft be- 
came rebellion against the king, to whom the 
Fronde professed entire allegiance. 

[1652. The Boy-King. 75 

The king invited to return. The Duke of Orleans retires to Blois. 

Parliament immediately issued a decree, 
thanking the king for banishing the cardinal, 
and imploring him to return to his good city 
of Paris. After some negotiation the king ac- 
ceded to their wishes, and on the 17th of Octo- 
ber arrived at St. Germain. Here a numerous 
civic guard and deputation hastened to greet 
him, and to conduct him to the metropolis. 
On the 20th he proceeded to Ruel, where he 
passed the night. 

The king decided to enter the city at the 
head of his army. In order to render the 
scene more imposing, it was to take place at 
night, by the light of thousands of torches. 
The spectacle was such as Paris had rarely 
witnessed. The fickle people, ever ready to 
vibrate between the cry of hosanna and cruci- 
fy, pealed forth their most enthusiastic rejoic- 
ings. The triumphant boy-king took posses- 
sion of the Tuileries. Cardinal de Retz, who 
had now gained his lon^-coveted ecclesiastical 
distinction, hastened to congratulate the king 
and his mother upon their return to the city, 
from which they had so long been banished. 
The Duke of Orleans, chagrined and humilia- 
ted, retired to Blois. 

The king soon held what was called a bed 

76 Louis XIT. [1652. 

Doom of the leaders of the Fronde. Respectful refusal of De Rets 

of j ustice, in which, instead of granting a gon- 
er.' il amnesty, he denounced the princes Conde* 
and Conti, and other of the prominent leaders 
of the Fronde, as traitors to their king, to be 
punished by death. These doomed ones were 
nobles of high rank, vast wealth, with thou- 
sands of retainers. Many throughout the king- 
dom were in sympathy with them. They 
^culd not die without a struggle. Hence the 
war, which had hitherto raged between IMaza- 
rin and the Fronde, was renewed between the 
long and the Fronde. All over the pro vii ices 
the hostile forces were rallying themselves for 
the conflict. 

It was necessary that the Parliament should 
register this decree of the king. It did so, but 
Cardinal de Eetz refused to give his vote. He 
very respectfully declared to the king that he, 
having been on friendly terms and in co-oper- 
ation with the Prince de Conde, it would be 
neither courteous nor just for him to vote his 

This enraged both the king and his mother. 
They said it proved that he was in sympathy 
with their enemies. The court did not venture 
at once to strike down one so formidable. A 
mission was assigned the cardinal at Rome, to 

1.652.J The Boy-King. 77 

Orders for his arrest. 

) emove him from the country. 13 e ref UL>ed to 
jicccpt it. The boy-king was growing reckless, 
passionate, self-willed. lie began to feel the 
power that was in his hand. The cardinal 
was warned of his danger. He smile 1, ai d 
said " that, sustained by his ecclesiastica' rank, 
he had nothing to fear." 

The court issued an order for the airest of 
the cardinal. It was placed in the hinds of 
Pj'adelle for execution. But the king \^as told 
that the cardinal would never suffer himself 
to be arrested without resistanco; th?t, to se^ 
cure his seizure, it might be necessary to take 
his life. The king seized a pen and .vrote a'; 
the bottom of the order, 

u I have commanded Pradelle o ex scute tho 
present order on the person of Oe Ketz, and 
e\en to arrest him, dead or alive in he event 
oi: resistance on his part. Louis." 

It was deemed very important to arrest tho 
cardinal, if possible, without exciting a popular 
tumult. The palace of the cardina 1 was well 
guarded. He never went out w tl out a nu- 
merous retinue. Should the popu ace of Par's 
see him endangered, they would spring to bis 

At length De Retz was earnestly invited to 

78 Louis XIV. [1652. 

Treachery of Anne of Austria. Arrest of De Retz. 

visit the queen at the Louvre, in token that he 
was not hostile to the court. It was one of the 
most dishonorable of stratagems. The cardi 
nal was caught in the trap. As he was enter- 
ing the antechamber of the queen upon this 
visit of friendship, all unsuspicious of treach- 
ery, the captain of the guard, who had been 
stationed there for the purpose with several 
gendarmes, seized him, hurried him through 
the great gallery of the Louvre, and down the 
stairs to the door. Here a royal carriage was 
awaiting him. He was thurst into the car- 
riage, and five or six officers took seats by his 
side. To guard against any possibility of res- 
cue, a numerous military escort was at hand. 
The horses were driven rapidly through the 
streets, and out through the Porte St. Antoine. 

At nine o'clock the cardinal found himself 
a prisoner at the castle of Vincennes. The 
apartment assigned him was cold and dreary, 
without furniture and without a bed. Here 
the prisoner remained a fortnight, in the mid- 
dle of December, with no fire. 

The arrest of the cardinal created a great 
sensation throughout Paris. But the chateau 
was too strong, and too vigilantly guarded by 
the royal troops, to encourage any attempt at 
a rescue. 

1652.] The Boy-King. 81 

Return of Mazarin. First care of Mazarin. 

In the mean time, Mazarin had placed him- 
self at the head of the royal troops in one of 
the provinces, where he gained several unim- 
portant victories over the bands of the Fronde. 
These successes were trumpeted abroad as 
great achievements, so as to invest the cardi- 
nal with the renown of a great conqueror. 
Mazarin was well aware of the influence of 
military glory upon the populace in Paris. 
The king also began to feel the need of his 
dominant mind. He was invited to return to 
Paris. Louis himself rode out six miles be- 
yond the walls to receive him. The cardinal 
entered the city in triumph, in the same car- 
riage with his sovereign, and seated by his side. 
All the old idols were forgotten, and the once 
detested Mazarin was received as though he 
were an angel from heaven. Bonfires and il- 
luminations blazed through the streets ; the 
whole city resounded with demonstrations of 
rejoicing. Thus terminated the year 1652. 

The first care of Cardinal Mazarin, after his 
return to Paris, was to restore the finances, 
which were in a deplorable condition. Louis 
was fond of pleasure. It was one great object 
of the cardinal to gratify him in this respect, 
in every possible way. Notwithstanding the 

82 Louis XIV. [1653, 

Festivities at conrt. Approaching coronation. 

penury of the court, the cardinal contrived to 
supply the king with money. Thus, during 
the winter, the royal palaces resounded with 
festivity and dissipation. The young king be- 
came very fond of private theatricals, in which 
he, his brother Philip, and the young ladies of 
the court took prominent parts. Louis often 
appeared upon the stage in the character of a 
ballet-dancer. He was proud of the grace 
with which he could perform the most difficult 
pirouettes. He had plays written, with parts 
expressly composed for his aristocratic troop. 

The scene of these masqueradings was the 
theatre of the Hotel du Petit Bourbon, which 
was contiguous to the Louvre. When royalty 
plays and courtiers till pit and gallery, applause 
is without stint. The bov-kin^ was much ela- 
ted with his theatric triumphs. The queen and 
Cardinal Mazarin were well pleased to see the 
king expending his energies in that direction. 

These entertainments cost money, which 
Mazarin was greatly embarrassed in obtaining. 
The hour was approaching for the coronation 
of Louis. The pageant would require large 
sums of money to invest the occasion with the 
desirable splendor. But gold was not all that 
was wanted. Rank, brilliance, beauty were 

1053.] The Boy-King. 83 

Paucity of notabilities at the coronation. 

requisite suitably to impress the masses of the 
people. But the civil war had robbed the 
court of many of its most attractive ornaments. 

Monsieur, the duke of Orleans, was sullenly 
residing at Blois. Here he held a somewhat 
rival court to the king. He refused to attend 
the coronation unless certain concessions were 
granted, to which Mazarin could not give his 
consent. Mademoiselle, the duchess of Mont- 
pensier, daughter of Monsieur by his first wife, 
a young lady of wonderful heroism and attrac- 
tions, who possessed an enormous property in 
her own right, and who was surrounded by a 
brilliant court of her own, could not consistent- 
ly share in festivities at which her father re- 
fused to appear. 

The Prince of Conde, one of the highest no- 
bles of the realm, and who had many adherents 
of the most illustrious rank, was in arms against 
his king at the head of the Spanish forces, and 
sentence of death had been pronounced upon 

Cardinal de Retz was a prisoner at Vincen- 
nes. Plis numerous followers in Church and 
State refused to sanction by their presence any 
movements of a court thus persecuting their 
beloved cardinal. 

84 Louis XIV. [1653. 

The king repairs to Stenay. Louis in the trenches. 

It was thus impossible to invest the corona- 
tion with the splendor which the occasion 
eeemed to demand. 

The coronation took place, however, at 
Rheims. Cardinal Mazarin exerted all his 
ingenuity to render the pageant imposing; 
but the absence of so many of the most illus- 
trious of the realm cast an atmosphere of 
gloom around the ceremonies. 

France was at the time at war with Spain. 
The Fronde co-operated with the Spanish 
troops in the civil war. Immediately after 
the coronation, the king, then sixteen years of 
age, left Rheims to place himself at the head 
of the army. lie repaired to Stenay, on the 
Meuse, in the extreme northeastern 'frontier of 
France. This ancient city, protected by strong 
fortifications, was held by Conde. The royal 
troops were besieging it. The poverty of the 
treasury was such that Mazarin could not fur- 
nish Louis even with the luxury of a carriage. 
He traveled on horseback. He had no table 
of his own, but shared in that of the Marquis 
de Fabert, the general in command. 

It seems difficult to account for the fact 
that the young king was permitted to enter 
the trenches, and to engage in skirmishes, 

1653.] The Boy-King. 85 

Defeat of Cond6. 

where he was so exposed to the fire of the en- 
emy that the wounded and the dead were con- 
tinually falling around him. lie displayed 
much courage on these occasions. 

The Prince of Conde left a garrison in one 
of the strong fortresses, and marched with the 
main body of his troops to Arras. The move- 
ments of the two petty armies, their skirmishes 
and battles, are no longer of any interest. The 
battles were fought and the victories gained 
by the direction of the generals Turenne and 
Fabert. Though the boy king displayed in- 
trepidity which secured for him the respect of 
the soldiers, he could exert but little influence 
either in council or on the field. Both Stenay 
and Arras were soon taken. The army of the 
Prince of Conde was driven from all its posi- 

The king returned to Paris to enjoy the grat- 
nlation of the populace, and to offer public 
thanksgiving in the cathedral of Notre Dama 

86 Louis XIV. [1648. 

Gayeties in Paris. Poverty of the court. 

Chapter IIL 

Matrimonial Projects. 

*nPHERE is nothing so successful as sue 
-*- cess." The young king returned to Paris 
from his coronation and his brief campaign a 
hero and a conqueror. The courage he had 
displayed won universal admiration. The ex- 
citable populace were half frenzied with enthu- 
siasm. The city resounded with shouts of glad- 
ness, and the streets were resplendent with tha 
display of gorgeous pageants. 

The few nobles who still rallied around the 
court endeavored to compensate by the mag- 
nificence of their equipages, the elegance of 
their attire, and the splendor of their festiv- 
ities, for their diminished numbers. There 
were balls and tournaments, where the dress 
and customs of the by-gone ages of chivalry 
were revived. Ladies of illustrious birth, glit- 
tering in jewels, and proud in conscious beau- 
ty, contributed to the gorgeousness of the spec- 
tacle. Still, in the midst of all this splendor, 
the impoverished court was greatly embarrass- 
ed by straitened circumstances. 

1648.] Matrimonial Projects. 87 

Death of the Archbishop of Paris. Murmurings. 

Cardinal Mazarin, eager to retain his hold 
upon the king, did every thing he conld to 
gratify the love of pleasure which his royal 
master developed, and strove to multiply se- 
ductive amusements to engross his time and 

But a few days after Cardinal de Hetz had 
been conducted a prisoner to Yincennes, his 
uncle, the Archbishop of Paris, died. The car- 
dinal could legally claim the succession. The 
metropolitan clergy, who had been almost 
roused to rebellion by his arrest, were now still 
more deeply moved, since he had become their 
archbishop. They regarded his captivity as 
political martyrdom, and their murmurs were 
deep and prolonged. The pope also addressed 
several letters to the court, soliciting the liber- 
ation of his cardinal. The excitement daily 
increased. Nearly all the pulpits more or less 
openly denounced his captivity. At length a 
pamphlet appeared urging the clergy to close 
all their churches till their archbishop should 
be released. 

Mazarin was frightened. He sent an envoy 
to the captive cardinal presenting terms of 
compromise. We have not space to describe 
the diplomacy which ensued, but the confer- 

88 Louis XIV. [1653. 

Escape of Cardinal de Retz. Manoeuvres of Anne of Austria. 

ence was unavailing. The cardinal was soon 
after removed, under an escort of dragoons, to 
the fortress of Nantes. From this place he 
almost miraculously escaped to his own terri- 
tory of Retz, where he was regarded as sov 
ereign, and where he was surrounded by re- 
tainers who, in impregnable castles, would 
fight to the death for their lord. These scenes 
took place early in the summer of 1653. 

In the mean time, the young kins: was amus- 
ing himself in his various palaces with the 
many beautiful young ladies who embellished 
his court. Like other lads of fifteen, he was 
in the habit of falling in love with one and 
another, though the transient passion did not 
seem very deeply to affect his heart. Some of 
these maidens were exceedingly beautiful. In 
others, vivacity and intellectual brilliance quite 
eclipsed the charms of the highest physical 

Anne of Austria, forgetting that the all- 
dominant passion of love had led her to regret 
that she was the wife of the kin^, that she 
might marry the Duke of Buckingham, did 
not deem it possible that her son could stoop 
so low as to marry any one who was not of 
royal blood. She therefore regarded without 

1653.] Matrimonial Projects. 89 

Olympia de Mancini. Henrietta of Englaud. 

much uneasiness his desperate flirtations, while 
she was scanning the courts of Europe in 
search of an alliance which would add to the 
power and the renown of her son. 

•One of the nieces of Cardinal Mazarin, an 
Italian girl by the name of Olympia Mancini, 
was among the first to whom the boy-king of 
fifteen became specially attached. Olympia 
was very beautiful, and her personal fascina- 
tions were rivaled by her mental brilliance, 
wit, and tact. She was by nature and educa- 
tion a thorough coquette, amiable and endear- 
ing to an unusual degree. She had a sister a 
little older than herself, who was also extreme- 
ly beautiful, who had recently become the 
Duchess of Mercceur. Etiquette required that 
in the balls which the king attended every 
evening he should recognize the rank of the 
duchess by leading her out first in the dance. 
After this, he devoted himself exclusively, for 
the remainder of the evening, to Olympia. 

It will be remembered that Henrietta, the 
widowed queen of Charles II., who was daugh- 
ter of Henry IY. and sister of Louis XIII., 
was then residing in France. She had no pe- 
cuniary means of her own, and, chagrined and 
humiliated, was a pensioner upon the bounty 

90 Louis XIV. [1653. 

Embarrassment of Henrietta. 

of the impoverished French court. Henrietta 
had with her a very pretty daughter, eleven 
years of age. Being the granddaughter of 
Henry IV. and daughter of Charles II., she 
was entitled, through the purity of her royal 
blood, to the highest consideration in the eti- 
quette of the court. But the mother and the 
daughter, from their poverty and their misfor- 
tunes, were precluded from any general partic- 
ipation in the festivities of the palace. 

The queen, Anne of Austria, on one occa- 
sion, gave a private ball in honor of these un- 
fortunate guests in her own apartments. None 
were invited but a few of her most intimate 
friends. Henrietta attended with her daugh- 
ter, who bore her mother's name. There are 
few situations more painful than that of poor 
relatives visiting their more prosperous friends, 
who in charity condescend to pay them some 
little attention. The young Henrietta was a 
fragile and timid girl, who keenly felt the em- 
barrassment of her situation. As, with her 
face suffused with blushes, and her eyes moist- 
ened with the conflicting emotions of joyous- 
ness and fear, she entered the brilliant saloon 
of Anne of Austria, crowded with those below 
her in rank, but above her in prosperity and 

1654.] Matrimonial Projects. 91 

Rudeness of Louis XIV. 

all worldly aggrandizement, she was received 
coldly, with no marks of sympathy or attention. 
As the music summoned the dancers to the 
floor, the king, neglecting his young and royal 
cousin, advanced, according to his custom, to 
the Duchess of Mercoeur, to lead her out. 
The queen, shocked at so gross a breach of eti- 
quette, and even of kindly feeling, rose from 
her seat, and, advancing, withdrew the hand of 
the duchess from her son, and said to him, in 
a low voice, " You should dance first with the 
English princess." The boy-king sulkily re- 
plied, "I am not fond of little girls." Both 
Henrietta and her daughter overheard this un- 
courteous and cruel remark. 

Henrietta, the mother, hastened to the queen, 
and entreated her not to attempt to constrain 
the wishes of his majesty. It was an exceed- 
ingly awkward position for all the parties. 
The spirit of Anne of Austria was aroused. 
Resuming her maternal authority, she declared 
that if her niece, the Princess of England, were 
to remain a spectator at the ball, her son should 
do the same. Thus constrained, Louis very un- 
graciously led out Henrietta upon the floor. 
The young princess, tender in years, sensi- 
tive through sorrow, wounded and heart-crush- 

92 Louis XIV. [1654. 

Royal quarrel. Independence of the king. 

ed, danced with tears streaming down her 

Upon the departure of the guests, the moth- 
er and the son had their first serious quarrel. 
Anne rebuked Louis severely for his shameful 
conduct. The king rebelled. Haughtily fac- 
ing his mother, he said, " I have long enough 
been guided by your leading-strings. I shall 
submit to it no longer." It was a final decla- 
ration of independence. Though there were * 
tears shed on both sides, and the queen made 
strenuous efforts at conciliation, she felt, and 
justly felt, that the control of her son had pass- 
ed from her forever. It was a crisis in the 
life of the king. From that hour he seemed 
disposed on all occasions to assert his manhood. 

A remarkable indication of this soon occur- 
red. It was customary, when the king', through 
his ministers, issued any decrees, that they 
should be registered by the Parliament, to give 
them full authority. Some very oppressive 
decrees had been issued to raise funds for the 
court. It was deemed very important that they 
should be registered. The king in person at- 
tended Parliament, that the influence of his 
presence might carry the measure. No one 
dared to oppose in the presence of the king. 

1654.] Matrimonial Projects. 93 

Order of the king. 

Louis had now established his summer resi- 
dence at the castle of Yincennes. Arrange- 
ments had been made for a magnificent hunt 
in the forest the next day, to be attended by 
all the ladies and gentlemen of the court. The 
king, after leaving the Parliament, returned to 
Yincennes, which is about three miles from 
Paris. lie had scarcely arrived at the castle 
when he received information that, immediate- 
ly upon his leaving the Parliament, a motion 
had been made to reconsider the approval of 
the decrees. 

The king dispatched a courier ordering the 
Chamber to reassemble the next morning. 
The pleasure-loving courtiers were dismayed 
by this order, as they thought it would inter- 
fere with the hunt. But the king assured 
them that business should not be allowed to 
interfere with his pleasures. 

At half past nine o'clock the next morning 
the king entered the chamber of deputies in 
his hunting-dress. It consisted of a scarlet 
coat, a gray beaver hat, and high military boots. 
He was followed by a large retinue of the no- 
bles of his court in a similar costume. 

" In this unusual attire," writes the Marquis 
de Montglat, " the king heard mass, took his 

94 Louis XIV. [1654. 

Audacity of Louis. Submission of Parliament 

place with the accustomed ceremonies, and, 
with a whip in his hand, declared to the Par- 
liament that in future it was his will that his 
edicts should be registered, and not discussed. 
He threatened them that, should the contrary 
occur, he would return and enforce obedience." 

How potent must have been the circumstan- 
ces which the feudalism of ages had created. 
These assembled nobles yielded without a 
murmur to this insolence from a boy of eigh- 
teen. Parliament had ventured to try its 
strength against Cardinal Mazarin, but did not 
dare to disobey its king. 

Soon after this, Louis, having learned that 
Turenne had gained some important victories 
over the Fronde, decided to join the army to 
witness the siege of the city of Conde and of 
St. Quilain. Both of these places soon fell 
into the hands of the Poyalist troops. The 
king had looked on. Papidly he returned to 
Paris to enjoy almost a Roman triumph for 
his great achievement. 

As one of the festivities of the city, the king 
arranged a tournament in honor of his avowed 
lady-love, Olympia Mancini. She occupied a 
conspicuous seat among the ladies of the court, 
her lovely person decorated with a dress of ex- 

1654.] Matrimonial Projects. 95 

A tournament. Christina of Sweden. 

quisite taste and beauty. The king was prom- 
inent in his attire among all the knights as- 
sembled to contest the palm of chivalry. He 
was dressed in robes of brilliant scarlet. A 
white scarf encircled his waist, and snow-white 
plumes waved gracefully from his hat. 

The scene was as gorgeous as the wealth and 
decorative art of the court could create. There 
were retainers surrounding the high lords, and 
heralds, and pages, and trumpeters, all arrayed 
in the most picturesque costume. No one 
could be so discourteous or impolitic as to van- 
quish the king. He consequently bore away 
all the laurels. This magnificent tournament 
gave the name of " The Carousal" to the space 
where it was held, between the Louvre and the 

Early in the summer the court removed to 
Compiegne, to spend the season in rural amuse- 
ments there. Christina, the young queen of 
Sweden, who had just abdicated the throne, 
and whose eccentricities had attracted the at- 
tention of Europe, came to the frontiers of 
France with an imposing retinue, and, announ- 
cing her arrival, awaited the invitation of the 
king to visit his court. She was one of the 
most extraordinary personages of that or any 

96 Louis XIY. [1654 

Reception of Christina. 

age. Good looking, " strong minded" to the 
highest degree, masculine in dress and address, 
always self-possessed, absolutely fearing noth- 
ing, proud, haughty, speaking fluently eight 
languages, familiar with art, and a consummate 
intriguante, she excited astonishment and a 
certain degree of admiration wherever she ap- 

The curiosity of Louis was so greatly excited 
and so freely expressed to see this extraordi- 
nary personage as to arouse the jealousy of 
Olympia. The king perceived this. It is one 
of the most detestable traits in our fallen na- 
ture that one can take pleasure in making an- 
other unhappy. The unamiable king amused 
himself in torturing the feelings of Olympia. 

Christina proceeded at first to Paris. Here 
she w r as received with the greatest honor. 
For a distance of nearly six miles from the 
Louvre the streets were lined with armed citi- 
zens, who greeted her with almost unintermit- 
ted applause. The crowd was so great that, 
though she reached the suburbs of Paris at two 
o'clock in the afternoon, she did not alight at 
the Louvre until nine o'clock in the evening. 
This eccentric princess was then thirty years 
of age, and, though youthful in appearance, in 

1654.] Matrimonial Projects. 99 

Her eccentric character. 

dress and manners she affected the Amazon. 
She had great powers of pleasing, and her wit, 
her entire self-reliance, and extensive informa- 
tion, enabled her to render herself very attract- 
ive whenever she wished to do so. 

After spending a few days in Paris, she pro- 
ceeded to Compiegne to visit the king and 
queen. Louis and his brother, with Mazarin 
and a crowd of courtiers, rode out as far as 
Chantilly, a distance of nearly twenty miles, to 
meet her. Christina also traveled in state, ac- 
companied by an imposing retinue. Here 
there was, at that time, one of the largest and 
finest structures in France. The castle belong- 
ed to the family of Conde. The opposite cut 
presents it to the reader as it then appeared. 

The king and his brother, from some freak, 
presented themselves to her at first incognito. 
They were introduced by Mazarin as two of 
the most nobly born gentlemen in France. 
Christina smiled, and promptly replied, 

" Yes, I have no doubt of it, since their birth- 
right is a crown." 

She had seen their portraits in the Louvre the 
day before, and immediately recognized them. 

Christina was to be honored with quite a 
triumphal entrance to Compiegne. The king 

100 Louis XI V. [1654 

Astonishment of Anne of Austria. 

accordingly returned to Coinpiegne, and the 
next day, with the whole court in carriages, 
rode out a few leagues to a very splendid man- 
sion belonging to one of the nobles at Fayet. 
It was a lovely clay, warm and cloudless. 
Anne of Austria decided to receive her illus- 
trious guest upon the spacious terrace. There 
6he assembled her numerous court, resplendent 
with gorgeous dresses, and blazing with dia- 
monds. Soon the carriage of the Swedish 
queen drove up, with the loud clatter of out- 
riders and the flourish of trumpets. Cardinal 
Mazarin and the Duke de Guise assisted her 
to alight. As she ascended the terrace the 
queen advanced to meet her. 

Though Anne was at first struck with amaze- 
ment at the ludicrous appearance of the attire 
of Christina, she was immediately fascinated 
by her conversational tact and brilliance. 
Some allusion having been made to the por- 
trait of the king in the Louvre, the queen held 
out her arm to show a still more faithful min- 
iature in the clasp of her bracelet. Anne of 
Austria had a very beautiful arm, and was 
very proud of it. Christina, instead of looking 
at the bracelet, surveyed the undraped arm 
and hand with admiration. 

1654.] Matrimonial Projects. 101 

Varied information of Christina. 

" How beautiful ! how beautiful !" she ex- 
claimed. " Never did I see an arm and hand 
of such lovely hue and such exquisite symme- 
try. I would willingly have made the journey 
from Rome to Paris to see this arm." 

The queen's heart was won, Christina knew 
it. The next achievement was to win the king. 

Christina was apparently as familiar with 
the French court, and all the intrigues there, 
from the information which she had obtained, 
as if she had always been a resident at that 
court. She immediately turned with very 
marked attention to Olympia Mancini, and 
seemed dazzled by her beauty. The heart of 
the boy-king was won in seeing his own good 
taste thus highly appreciated and sanctioned. 
Having thus secured the queen and the king, 
Christina was well aware that she had captiva- 
ted the whole court. 

An elegant collation was prepared. The 
plump little queen ate like a hungry dragoon. 
The royal cortege, enveloping the Swedish 
princess, returned to the palace of Compiegne. 
Several days were spent at Compiegne, during 
which she astonished every one by the remark- 
able self -poise of her character, her varied in- 
formation, and the versatility of her talents. 

102 Louis XI Y. [1654 

Rudeness of the ex-queen. She visits Mademoiselle. 

She conversed upon theology with the ecclesi- 
astics, upon politics with the ministers, upon 
all branches of science and art with philoso- 
phers and the virtuosi, and eclipsed the most 
brilliant of the courtiers in the small-talk of 

She attended the theatre with the queen. 
During the tragedy she wept like a child, 
heartily and unaffectedly. During the farce, 
which was one of those coarse and pungent 
compositions by the poet Scarron, which would 
now be scarcely tolerated, her shouts of laugh- 
ter echoed through the theatre. She astonish- 
ed the court by clapping her hands and throw- 
ing her feet upon the top of the royal box, like 
a rowdy in a smoking-room. 

From Compiegne, Christina, by invitation, 
went to Fontainebleau to visit Mademoiselle de 
Montpensier. The piquant pen of Mademoi- 
selle has described this interview. Some al- 
lowance must perhaps be made for the vein of 
satire which pervaded nearly all the utterances 
of this haughty princess. The dress of Chris- 
tina consisted of a skirt of gray silk, trimmed 
with gold and silver lace, with a bodice of gold- 
colored camlet trimmed like the skirt. She 
wore a kerchief of Genoa point about her neck. 

1654.] Matrimonial Projects. 105 

Christina returns to Sweden. Outbreak of Cbristina. 

fastened with a knot of white ribbon. A light 
wig concealed her natural hair. Her hat was 
profusely decorated with white plumes. She 
looked, upon the whole, Mademoiselle thought, 
like a handsome boy. 

Mademoiselle, accustomed to the rigid pro- 
priety of the French court, was not a little sur- 
prised to hear Christina, during the comedy, 
interlard her conversation with hearty oaths, 
with all the volubility of an old guardsman. 
She flung about her legs in the most astonish- 
ing manner, throwing them over the arms of 
her chair, and placing herself in attitudes quite 
unprecedented in Parisian circles. 

Soon after this, this Amazonian princess re- 
turned by a circuitous route to her Northern 
home. Before taking leave of her, it may be 
well to remark that subsequently Christina 
made a second visit to France uninvited — not 
only uninvited, but very unwelcome. She 
took possession of the palace of Fontainebleau 
with her attendants, where with cold courtesy 
she was tolerated. In a freak of passion, she 
accused her grand equerry, M. Monalcleschi, of 
high treason, and actually put him to death. 
So high-handed an outrage, even in those days 
of feudal barbarism, excited throughout France 

106 Louis XIV. [1654. 

Letter to Cardinal Mazarin. 

a universal feeling of disgust and indignation. 
The sentiment was so strong and general that 
the king deemed it necessary to send her a let- 
ter through his minister, Mazarin, expressive 
of his extreme displeasure. 

Christina, much exasperated, sent a reply 
containing the following expressions : 

" Mr. Mazarin, — Those who acquainted you 
with the details regarding Monaldeschi, my 
equerry, were Aery ill informed. Your pro- 
ceeding ought not, however, to astonish me, sil- 
ly as it is. But I should never have believed 
that either you or your haughty young master 
would have dared to exhibit the least resent- 
ment toward me. Learn all of you, valets and 
masters, little and great, that it was my pleas- 
ure to act as I did ; that I need not, and I will 
not account for my actions to any one in the 
world, and particularly to bullies of your de- 
scription. I wish you to know, and to say to 
all who will hear it, that Christina cares very 
little about your court, and still less about 
yourself; and that, in order to revenge my 
wrongs, I do not require to have recourse to 
your formidable power. Believe me, there- 
fore, Jules,** you had better conduct yourself 

* Jules, the Christian name of Maaarin. 

1656.] Matrimonial Projects. 107 

Count de Soissons. 

in a manner to deserve my favor, which you 
can not study too much to secure. God pre- 
serve you from ever risking the least indiscreet 
remark upon my person. Although at the end 
of the earth, I shall be informed of your plots. 
I have friends and courtiers in my service who 
are as clever and far-sighted as yours, although 
they are not so well paid. Christina." 

Soon after this her Swedish majesty disap- 
peared from France, to the great relief of the 
court, and was seen there no more. 

Olympia Mancini had ever increasing evi- 
dence that the love of the king for her was 
but a frivolous and heartless passion. The 
Count de Soissons, of Savoy, a young prince 
who had just become the head of his house, 
visited the court of Louis XIV. The marvel- 
ous beauty of Olympia, at first glance, won his 
heart. He was young, handsome, chivalric, 
high-born, and was just entering upon a mag- 
nificent inheritance. Olympia had recently 
lost by death a mother whom she greatly re- 
vered, and a beloved sister. She was over- 
whelmed with grief. The entire want of sym- 
pathy manifested by the king shocked her. 
He thought of nothing but his own personal 
pleasure. Regardless of the grief of Olympia, 

108 Lons XIV. [1656. 

Marriage of Olympia Mancini. Mademoiselle d'Argencourt. 

- ■ -^^^^ M ■ I.- I I I I — - ... ■■— ^^»^^ 

he exhibited himself, evening after evening, in 
court theatricals, emulating the agility of an 
opera-dancer, and attired in spangled robes. 

Wounded and irritated by such conduct, 
Olympia accepted the proffered hand of the 
Count de Soissons, who was grandson of 
Charles V. The marriage was attended with 
great splendor at the palace of the Louvre. 
All the court was present. The king himself 
seemed not at all discomposed that another 
should marry the beautiful maiden whom he 
had professed so ardently to love. Indeed, he 
was already beginning to transfer his atten- 
tions to Mademoiselle d'Argencourt, a queenly 
beauty of the high family of Conti. Her fig- 
ure was perfect, her manners were courtly in 
the highest degree, and all who approached 
her were charmed with her conversational vi- 
vacity and tact. 

But Mademoiselle's affections were already 
engaged, and, being fully aware that the king 
flitted from beauty to beauty, like the butter- 
fly from flower to flower, she very frankly in- 
timated to the king that she could not receive 
his attentions. Louis was heart-broken ; for 
such fragile hearts are easily broken and as 
easily repaired. He hastened to his mother, 

1656.] Matrimonial Projects. 109 

The Pope's choir. Mary Manchri. 

and told her that he must leave Paris to con- 
quer his passion. The love-sick monarch re- 
tired to Yincennes, spent ten days there, and 
returned quite cured. 

The marriage of Olympia, as we have men- 
tioned, was celebrated with very great brill- 
iance. The ambitious cardinal, in heart dis- 
appointed that he had not been able to confer 
the hand of Olympia on the king, was increas- 
ingly desirous of investing the members of his 
family with all possible eclat. He had im- 
ported for the occasion the principal members 
of the Pope's choir. These wonderful vocal- 
ists from the Sistine Chapel astonished the 
French court with melody and harmony such 
as had never been heard in the Louvre before. 

Olympia had a younger sister, Mary, fifteen 
years of age. She had come from her school 
in a convent to witness the marriage festivities. 
The music and the impressive scene affected 
the artless child deeply, and her tears flowed 
freely. The king, surrounded by the brilliant 
beauties of his court, accidentally caught sight 
of this child. Though not beautiful, there was 
something in her unaffected attitude, her tears, 
her entire absorption in the scene, which ar- 
rested his attention. 

110 Louis X1Y. [1656. 

Description of Mary Mancini. 

Mary had early developed so bold, indepen- 
dent, and self-reliant a spirit as to induce her 
father, on his death-bed, to entreat Madame de 
Mancini to compel her to take the veil. In 
compliance with this injunction, Mary had been 
placed in a convent until she should attain the 
fitting age to assume the irrevocable vows. 
Thus trained in seclusion, and with no ambi- 
tious aspirations, she had acquired a character 
of perfect simplicity, and her countenance bore 
an expression of intelligence and sensibility 
far more attractive than ordinary beauty. A 
contemporaneous writer says, 

" Her movements, her manners, and all the 
bearing of her person were the result of a na- 
ture guided by grace. Her look was tender, 
the accents of her voice were enchanting. 
Her genius was great, substantial, and exten- 
sive, and capable of the grandest conceptions. 
She wrote both good prose and pleasing poet- 
ry ; and Mary Mancini, who shone in a court- 
ly letter, was equally capable of producing a 
political or state dispatch. She would not 
have been unworthy of the throne if among 
us great merit had been entitled to obtain it." 

The king inquired her name. Upon learn- 
ing that she was a niece of the cardinal, and 

1656.] Matrimonial Projects. Ill 

Mary Mancini becomes a member of tbe court. 

a sister of Olympia, he desired that she might 
be presented to him. 

Mary was an enthusiast. The young king 
was very handsome, very courtly, and a perfect 
master of all the phrases of gallantry. Mary 
fell in love with him, without knowing it, at 
first sight. It was not the monarch which had 
won her, but the man, of exquisitely symmet- 
rical proportions, so princely in his bearing, so 
fascinating in his address. The young school- 
girl returned to her convent with the image of 
the king indelibly engraven on her heart. The 
few words which passed between them inter- 
ested the king, for every word she said bore 
the impress of her genius. Ere long she was 
added to the ladies of the queen's household. 

The king, having closed his flirtation with 
Mademoiselle d'Argencourt, found himself al- 
most insensibly drawn to Mary Mancini. 
Though there were many in his court more 
beautiful in person, there were none who could 
rival her in intellect and wit. Though natu- 
rally timid, her reserve disappeared when in 
his presence. Though ever approaching him 
with the utmost possible deference and respect, 
she conversed with him with a frankness to 
which he was entirely unaccustomed, and 

112 Louis XIY. [1656. 

fler influence over Louis. Ambitious views of Mazarin. 

which, at the same time, surprised and charm- 
ed him. 

His vanity was gratified with the almost re- 
ligious devotion with which she unaffectedly 
regarded her sovereign, while at the same time 
she addressed him with a bold simplicity of 
utterance which astounded the courtiers and 
enthralled the king. He was amazed and be- 
wildered by the grandeur of a character such 
as he had never encountered before. She re- 
proved him for his faults, instructed him in his 
ignorance, conversed with him upon themes 
beyond the ordinary range of his intellect, and 
endeavored to enkindle within him noble im- 
pulses and a lofty ambition. The king found 
himself quite unable to compete with her 
strength of intellect. His weaker nature be- 
came more and more subject to one endowed 
with gifts far superior to his own. In every 
hour of perplexity, in every serious moment, 
when the better nature of the king gained a 
transient ascendency, he turned from the fri- 
volity of the gay and thoughtless beings flut- 
tering around him to Mary Mancini for guid- 
ance and strength. 

The ambition of Cardinal Mazarin was again 
excited with the hope that he might yet place 

1656.] Matkimonial Projects. 113 

Projects for the marriage of Louis XIV. 

a niece upon the throne of France. But there 
was no end to the intrigues of ambitious aspi- 
rants, directly or indirectly, for the hand of the 
young king. Mademoiselle de Montpensfer 
had enormous wealth, was of high birth, and 
was endowed with marvelous force of charac- 
ter. She had long aspired to share the throne 
with her young cousin. When it was evident 
that this plan had failed, the Duke of Orleans 
brought forward a younger daughter by a sec- 
ond wife. But Mazarin succeeded in thwart- 
ing tin's arrangement. The Princess Henrietta 
of England, whom the young king had treated 
so cruelly at the ball, was urged upon him. 
She was lovely in person, amiable in character, 
but in poverty and exile. Cromwell was in 
the plenitude of his power. There was no 
probability that her family would be restored 
to the throne. The king turned coldly from 

Portugal was then one of the most wealthy 
and powerful courts of Europe. The Queen of 
Portugal was exceedingly anxious to unite her 
daughter with the King of France. Through 
her embassadors she endeavored to effect an 
alliance. A portrait of the princess was sent 
to Louis. It was very beautiful. The king 

114 Louis XIV. [1656. 

Diplomatic efforts with Spain. 

made private inquiries. She was very plain. 
This settled the question. The Portuguese 
princess was thought of no more. 

The King of Spain had a very beautiful 
daughter, Maria Theresa. The Spanish mon- 
archy then, perhaps, stood second to none oth- 
er on the globe. Spain and France were en- 
gaged in petty and vexatious hostilities. A 
matrimonial alliance would secure friendship. 
The matter was much talked of. The proud 
queen-mother, Anne of Austria, was very solic- 
itous to secure that alliance, as it would grati- 
fy her highest ambition. Mazarin professed 
warmly to favor it. He probably saw insuper- 
able obstacles in the way, but hoped, by co- 
operating cordially with the wishes of the 
queen, to be able finally to secure the marriage 
of the king with Mary Mancini. 

Maria Theresa was heiress to the throne of 
Spain. Should she marry Louis XIV., it would 
be necessary for her to leave Spain and reside 
in Paris. Thus the Queen of France would 
be the Queen of Spain. In fact, Spain would 
be annexed to France as a sort of tributary na- 
tion, the court being at Paris, and all the of- 
fices being at the disposal of the Queen of 
France, residing there. The pride of the Span- 

1656.] Matrimonial Projects. 115 

The Princess of Orange. Power of Mary Mancini. 

iards revolted from this, and still the diploma- 
tists were conferring upon the matter. 

Henrietta, the unfortunate widow of Charles 
I. of England, had an elder daughter, who had 
married the Prince of Orange, the head of the 
illustrious house of Nassau. This Princess of 
Orange was very beautiful, young, in the en- 
joyment of vast possessions, and a widow. She 
aspired to the hand, and to share the crown of 
the King of France. Surrounded by great 
magnificence and blazing with jewels, she visit- 
ed the court of Louis XIY. Her mission was 
signally unsuccessful. The king took a strong 
dislike to her, and repelled her advances with 
marked discourtesy. 

While matters were in this state, Charles II. 
offered his hand to Mary Mancini. But the 
proud cardinal would not allow his niece to 
marry a crownless and impoverished king. In 
the mean time, Mary Mancini, by her increas- 
ing beauty and her mental superiority, was 
gaining daily more influence over the mind of 
the king. With a voice of singular melody, 
a brilliant eye, a figure as graceful and elastic 
as that of a fairv, and with words of wonder- 
ful wisdom flowing, as it were, instinctively 
from her lips, she seemed effectually and al- 

116 Louis XIV. [1656. 

The Princess Marguerite. Anger of the queen regent. 

most unconsciously to have enthralled the king. 
All his previous passions were boyish and 
ephemeral. But Mary was very different from 
any other lady of the court. Her depth of 
feeling, her pensive yet cheerful temperament, 
and her fulhsouled sympathy in all that was 
truly noble in conduct and character, astonish- 
ed and engrossed the susceptible monarch. 

The Duchess of Savoy had a daughter, Mar- 
guerite, whom she wished to have become the 
wife of the French king. The princess was 
by birth of the highest rank, being a descend- 
ant of Henry IV. The duchess sent as an en- 
voy a young Piedmontese count to treat secret- 
ly with the cardinal for the marriage of the 
kins; with the Princess Marguerite. The count 
was unsuccessful. It was quite evident that 
Mazarin was intending to secure the marriage 
^>f the king with his niece. 

The proud queen, Anne of Austria, became 
greatly alarmed. She mortally offended the 
cardinal bv declaring to him that nothing 
should induce her to consent to such a degra- 
dation of her son as to permit his marriage 
with the niece of the cardinal. She declared 
that in such an event she herself would head 
an insurrection against the king, and that the 

1656.] Matrimonial Projects. 117 

Decision of the cabinet. New negotiations. 

whole of France would revolt both against him 
and his minister. These bitter words ever aft- 
er rankled in the bosom of the cardinal. 

The queen summoned a secret assembly of 
the cabinet, and put to them the question 
whether the marriage of her son without her 
consent would be a valid one. The unanimous 
decision was in the negative. She then had 
this decision carefully drawn up, and made ef- 
fectual arrangements to have it registered by 
the Parliament, should the king secretly mar- 
ry Mary Mancini. 

The cardinal now found himself compelled 
to abandon his ambitious hopes for his niece, 
and opened again negotiations with Spain for 
the hand of the Infanta Maria Theresa, and 
with the court of Savoy for the Princess Mar- 
guerite. The Spanish marriage would termi- 
nate the war. The union with Savoy would 
invest France with new powers for its vigorous 

Every day the attachment of the king to 
Mary Mancini became more undisguised. She 
guided his reading ; she taught him the Italian 
language ; she introduced to him the names of 
great men in the works of literature and art, 
and labored heroically to elevate his tastes, and 

118 Louis XIV. [1656. 

The two courts arrange to meet at Lyons. 

to inspire him with the ambition of perform- 
ing glorious deeds. 

The queen, in her anxiety, made arrange- 
ments for the king to meet the Princess Mar- 
guerite at Lyons, that they might be betrothed. 
She greatly preferred the alliance with Spain ; 
but as there seemed to be insuperable objec- 
tions to that, she turned her attention to Savoy. 
The king continued his marked and almost ex- 
clusive attentions to Mary, and she loved him 
with the full flow of her ardent affections. 

The whole court was to proceed in great 
magnificence to Lyons, to meet the court of 
Savoy. Mary was compelled to accompany 
the court. She knew full well the errand 
upon which Louis was bound. Though her 
heart was heavy, and tears dimmed her eyes, 
she was obliged to appear cheerful. She bad 
made an earnest effort to avoid the journey, 
but Anne of Austria was obdurate and cruel. 
She assured Mary that she could not spare her 
presence when she wished to impress the Prin- 
cess Marguerite with the magnificence and 
beauty of the French court. 

The court of Savoy left Turin at the same 
time that the French court left Paris. The 
pledge had been given that, should the king be 

1656.] Matrimonial Projects. 119 

Fickleness of Louis. The royal parties meet. 

pleased with the appearance of Marguerite, 
the marriage should take place without delay. 
During the journey, the heartless and fickle 
king, ever charmed by novelty, was in buoyant 
spirits. Though he still clung to the side of 
Mary, giving her a seat in his own carriage, 
and, when the weather was fine, riding by her 
side on horseback, he tortured her heart by the 
joyousness with which he spoke of the antici- 
pated charms of Marguerite and of his ap- 
proaching marriage. 

At Lyons the royal party was received with 
great magnificence. The next day it was an- 
nounced that the court of Savoy was approach- 
ing. The queen-mother and her son, with two 
ladies in the royal coach, preceded, and, follow- 
ed by a considerable retinue, advanced to meet 
their guests. The king mounted his horse and 
galloped forward to get a sight of Marguerite 
without being known by her. She was riding 
in an open barouche. He soon returned in 
great glee, and, springing from the saddle, re- 
entered the carriage, and informed his mother 
that the Princess Marguerite was very beauti- 
ful. Scarcely had he said this ere the two 
royal coaches met. Both parties alighted. 
The princess was introduced to Louis. Then 

120 Louis XIV. [1656. 

The Princess Marguerite. Sorrows of Mary. 

the queen-mother and her son, the Duchess of 
Savoy and the Princess Marguerite, and an 
elder daughter, who was a widow, entered the 
royal coach and returned to Lyons. The king 
was in exuberant spirits. lie at once entered 
into the most animated and familiar conversa- 
tion with the princess. 

The Princess Marguerite fully appreciated 
the embarrassment of her own situation. She 
was going to Lyons to present herself to Louis 
XIY. to see if lie would take her for his wife. 
The humiliation of being rejected would be 
dreadful. In vain she implored her mother 
to spare her from such a possibility. But the 
question seemed to be at once settled favora- 
bly. The king was manifestly much pleased 
with Marguerite, and the princess could see 
nothing but attractions in the young, hand- 
some, and courtly sovereign of France. 

Poor Mary, who was informed of every thing 
that transpired, was suffering martyrdom. She 
was immediately forsaken and forgotten. In 
public, all her force of character was called 
into requisition to dress her face in smiles. In 
her secret apartment she wept bitterly. 

1658.] Marriage of the King. 121 

Marguerite of Savoy. Sudden change of prospects. 

Chapter IV. 
The Marriage of the King. 

THE Princess Marguerite of Savoy was very 
beautiful. She was a brunette, with large, 
lustrous eyes, fairy -like proportions, queenly 
bearing, and so graceful in every movement 
that she scarcely seemed to touch the ground 
as she walked. Her reception by the king, the 
queen, and the whole court was every thing 
that could be desired. The duchess and her 
daughter that night placed their heads upon 
their pillows with the undoubting conviction 
that Marguerite was to be the Queen of prance. 
The king ordered his suite to be ready, in their 
gala dresses, to attend him on the morrow to 
the apartments of the princess. 

The morning came. To the surprise and 
bewilderment of the court, every thing was 
changed. The king was thoughtful, distant, 
reserved. With great formality of etiquette, 
he called upon the princess. His countenance 
and manner indicated an entire change of feel- 
\ng. With the coldest phrases of court etiquette 

122 Louis XIV. [1658. 

An heir to the Spanish throne. Rejection of Marguerite. 

he addressed her. He was civil, and civil only. 
The warmth of the lover had disappeared en- 
tirely. The Duchess of Savoy was astounded. 
Even the French court seemed stupefied by so 
unexpected and decisive an alteration in the 
aspect of affairs. 

The explanation which gradually came to 
light was very simple. During the night a 
courier had arrived, in breathless haste, with 
the announcement that the Queen of Spain 
had given birth to a son. Maria Theresa was 
no longer heir to the throne. The way was 
consequently open to the Spanish marriage. 
This alliance would secure peace with Spain, 
and was altogether a more powerful and 
wealthy connection than that with the court 
of Savoy. The cardinal immediately commu- 
nicated the intelligence to the queen -mother 
and the kins:. Thev alone knew it. Margue- 
rite was to be rejected, and the hand of Maria 
Theresa to be claimed. 

Mary Mancini was utteily bewildered by the 
change, so inexplicable to her, in the posture of 
affairs. The face of the queen was radiant with 
joy. The king seemed a little embarrassed, but 
very triumphant. The Duchess of Savoy be- 
trayed alternately surprise, indignation, and de- 

1658.] Marriage of the King. 123 

Mazarin communicates with the Duchess of Savoy. 

spair. The eagle eye and painful experience 
of Mary taught her that the Princess Margue- 
rite was struggling to retain her self-possession, 
and to maintain a cheerful spirit, while some 
terrible blow had fallen upon her. 

The news from Spain was such that Mazarin, 
upon receiving it after midnight, hastened to 
the bedchamber of the queen with the an- 
nouncement. As he entered, the queen rose 
upon her pillow, and the cardinal said : 

" I have come to tell you, madame, a piece of 
news which your majesty never anticipated." 

" Is peace proclaimed ?" inquired the queen, 

"More than peace," the cardinal exultantly 
replied ; "for the Infanta brings peace in her 
hand as but a portion of her dower." 

This extraordinary scene took place on the 
night of the 29th of November, 1658. It was 
the task of the wily cardinal to break the hu- 
miliating intelligence to the Duchess of Savoy. 
He assured her that he felt bound to seek, 
above all things else, the interests of France ; 
that an opportunity had unexpectedly occurred 
for an alliance with Spain ; that this alliance 
was far more desirable than any other ; but that, 
should any thing occur to interrupt these nego- 

124 Lotris XIV. [1658. 

Private interview of Mazarin and the Dnchess of Savoy. 

tiations, he would do every thing in his power 
to promote the marriage of the king with the 
Princess Marguerite. 

Notwithstanding the intense irritation which 
this communication excited, there was too much 
self-respect and too much good breeding in the 
court of Savoy to allow of a sudden rupture, 
which would provoke the sarcastic remarks of 
the world. Still the duchess, in a private in- 
terview with Mazarin, could not restrain her 
feelings, but broke out into passionate upbraid- 
ings. The thought that she had been lured to 
expose herself and her daughter to the derision 
of all Europe stung her to the quick. The 
Princess Marguerite, however, by her graceful 
composure, by her courtesy to all around her, 
and by the skill with which she concealed her 
wounded feelings, won the admiration of all 
in both courts. 

For several days the two courts remained 
together, engaged in a round of festivities. 
This seemed necessary to avoid the appear- 
ance of an open rupture. The fickle king, in 
these assemblies, treated Marguerite with his 
customary courtesy: but he immediately turned 
to Mary Mancini with his marked attentions 
and devotion, dancing with her repeatedly on 

1658.] Marriage of the King. 125 

Conduct of the king. 

the same evening, and keeping her constantly 
by his side. Indeed, his attentions were so 
very marked as to lead the courtiers to think 
that the king rejoiced at his escape from his 
marriage with Marguerite from the hope that 
it might yet lead to his securing Mary for his 
bride. But it is more probable that the king, 
utterly selfish, reckless of the feelings of others, 
and devoted to his own enjoyment, sought the 
society of Mary because it so happened that she 
was the one, more than any other then within 
his reach, who, by her personal beauty and her 
mental attractions, could best beguile his weary 
hours. He was ready at any moment, without 
a pang, to lay her aside for another who could 
better minister to his pleasure or to the aspir- 
ings of his ambition. 

The king, with his court, returned to Pans. 
The secret communicated by the mysterious 
visitor from Spain was still undivulged. The 
mystery was so great, and its apparent bearing 
upon the destiny of Mary so direct, that she 
resolved to interrogate one of the most influ- 
ential ministers of the court upon the subject. 
He, thinking in some degree to evade the ques- 
tion, replied that the courier had come simply 
to inform Anne of Austria that the Queen of 

126 Louis XIV. [1659, 

Movements of Mazarin. 

Spain had given birth to a son. This reveal- 
ed the whole to Mary. 

In the mean time, arrangements were made 
for Cardinal Mazarin to meet the Spanish 
minister on the frontiers of the two kingdoms 
to negotiate for the Spanish marriage. The 
cardinal, fully convinced that now it would be 
impossible to secure the hand of the king for 
his niece Mary, and anxious to convince the 
queen that he was heartily engaged in promo- 
ting the Spanish alliance, ordered Mary im- 
mediately to withdraw from the court, and re- 
tire to Brouage. This was a fortified town on 
the sea-coast many leagues from Paris. The 
king heard of the arrangement, and, forbidding 
the departure of Mary from the court, hasten- 
ed to the cardinal demanding an explanation, 
Mazarin informed him that the Infanta of 
Spain would be very indignant should she 
learn that, while he was making application for 
her hand, he was retaining near him one whom 
he had long treated with the most devoted and 
affectionate attentions ; that her father, Philip 
IV., would be disgusted ; that there would be 
a probable rupture of the negotiations; and 
that the desolating war between France and 
Spain would continue. 

1659.] Marriage of the King. 127 

Power of the cardinal. Mary exiled from the court. 

Louis declared that he should not allow his 
pleasure to be disturbed by such considerations. 
Roused by opposition, he went so far as to say 
that he was quite ready to carry on the war 
with Spain if that power so wished ; that the 
war would afford him an opportunity to ac- 
quire glory in the eyes of his countrymen, and 
in that case he would marry Mary Mancini. 

But the cardinal was fully conscious that 
neither the queen nor France would now sub- 
mit to such an arrangement. He had with 
great skill retained his attitude of command 
over the young monarch, holding his purse 
and governing the realm, while the boy-king 
amused himself as a ballet-dancer and a play- 
actor. The cardinal remained inexorable. It 
is said that the king wept in the excess of his 
chagrin as he felt compelled to yield to the 
representations of his domineering minister. 
As he unfolded to him the miseries w T hich 
would be inflicted, not only upon the kingdom, 
but upon the court, should the desolating and 
expensive war be protracted, the king threw 
himself upon a sofa, and buried his face in his 
hands in silent despair. It was decided that 
Mary should be exiled from the court. 

The king, thwarted, vexed, wretched, repair- 

128 Louis XIV. [1659. 

Mary's parting with the king. 

ed to the cabinet of his mother. They con- 
versed for an hour together. As they retired 
from the cabinet, Madame de Motteville says, 
"the eyes of both were red with weeping. The 
orders were immediately issued for Mary's de- 
parture. She was to go with an elder sister 
and her governess. The morrow came; the 
carriage was at the door. Mary, having taken 
leave of the queen, repaired to the apartment 
of Louis to bid him adieu. She found him 
deluged in tears. Summoning all her resolu- 
tion to maintain self-control, she held out her 
trembling hand, and said to him reproach- 
fully, ' Sire, you are a king ; you weep ; and 
yet I go.' " 

The king uttered not a word, but, burying 
his face in his hands upon the table, sobbed 
aloud. Mary saw that it was all over with 
her; that there was no longer any hope. With- 
out speaking a word, she descended the stairs 
to her carriage. The king silently followed 
her, and stood by the coach door. She took 
her seat with her companions, and, without the 
interchange of a word or a sign, the carriage 
drove away. Louis remained upon the spot 
until it disappeared from sight. 

The Isle of Pheasants, a small Spanish isl 


1652.] Marriage of the King, 131 

The Isle of Pheasants. Interview of Louis with Mary. 

and in the Bidassoa, a boundary river between 
France and Spain, was fixed upon as the ren- 
dezvous for the contracting parties for the 
royal marriage. Four days after the exile of 
Mary, the king and court, with a magnificent 
civil and ecclesiastical retinue, set out for the 
island. The king insisted, notwithstanding the 
vehement remonstrances of the queen, upon 
visiting Mary Mancini on the journey. As 
the splendid cortege passed through the streets 
of Paris, the whole population was on the pave- 
ment, shouting a thousand blessings on the head 
of their young king. 

Mary Mancini had received orders from the 
queen to proceed with her sister to Saint Jean 
d' Angely, where, upon the passage of the court, 
she was to have an interview with the king. 
" Her interview/' writes Miss Pardoe, " was, 
however, a bitter one. Divided between van- 
ity and affection, Louis was at once less firm 
and less self-possessed than Mary. He wept 
bitterly, and bewailed the fetters by which he 
was shackled. But as he remarked the change 
which nights of watching and of tears had 
made in her appearance, he felt half consoled. 
The only result of this meeting was to harrow 
the heart of the poor victim of political expe- 

132 Louis XIV. [1659. 

Negotiations with Spain. 

diency, and to prove to her upon how unstable 
a foundation she had built her superstructure 
of hope."* 

From Saint Jean d'AngeTy the court pro- 
ceeded, by way of Bordeaux, to Toulouse. 
Here they awaited the conclusion of the treaty. 
The negotiation was tedious, as each party was 
anxious to gain all that was possible from the 
other. Many questions of national moment 
and pride were involved. At length the con- 
ference was amicably concluded. The kincr 
agreed to pardon the Prince of Conde, and re- 
store to him all his honors; and the Infanta 
Maria Theresa renounced for herself and her 
descendants all claim to the inheritance of her 
parents. She was to receive as a dowry five 
hundred thousand golden crowns. There were 
several other articles included in the treaty 
which have now ceased to be of any interest. 

Much surprise was soon excited in the court 
of Louis XIY. by the intimation that the mar- 
riage ceremony must be postponed until the 
spring. Philip IY. stated that his infirm health 
would not allow him to take so long a journey 
in the inclement weather of winter. Louis 
XIY. had never yet seen his affianced bride. 

* Louis XIV. and the Court of France, vol. h\, p. 23, 24. 

1660.] Marriage of the King. 133 

Marriage preparations according to Spanish etiquette. 

We do not learn that he was at all annoyed 1 / 
the delay. The intervening weeks were pass- 
ed in jonrneyings and a round of amusements. 
Early in May, 1660, the king returned to the 
vicinity of the Isle of Pheasants, where he was 
to meet the King of Spain and Maria Theresa. 

The most magnificent preparations had been 
made at the Isle of Pheasants for the interview 
between the two courts and the royal nuptials. 
Bridges were constructed to the island from 
both the French and Spanish sides of the river. 
These bridges were covered, and so decorated 
as to present the aspect of beautiful galleries. 
Upon the island a palace was erected, consist- 
ing of one immense and gorgeous apartment, 
with lateral chambers and dressing - rooms. 
This apartment was carpeted, and furnished 
with all the splendor which the combined mon- 
archies of France and Spain could command. 

Two doors, directly opposite each other, en- 
abled the two courts to enter simultaneously. 
A straight line across the centre of the room 
divided it into two portions, one half of which 
was regarded as French, and the other as Span- 
ish territory. The Spanish court took up its 
residence at Fontarabia, on the eastern or Span- 
ish bank of the river. Louis and his court oc 

134 Louis XIV. [1660. 

Appearance of the Infanta. 

cupied Saint Jean de Luz, on the Trench or 
western side of the stream. 

There are many exactions of court etiquette 
which to republican eyes seem extremely irra- 
tional and foolish. Louis could not cross the 
river to take his Spanish bride, neither could 
Maria Theresa cross the stream to be married 
on French soil; therefore Don Luis de Haro, 
as the proxy of Louis XIV., having the French 
Bishop of Frejus as his witness, was married to 
Maria Theresa in the church at Fontarabia. 
The ceremony was conducted with the most 
punctilious observance of the stately forms of 
Spanish etiquette. 

Madame de Motteville gives the following 
account of the appearance of the bride : 

" The Infanta is short, but well made. We 
admired the extreme fairness of her complex- 
ion. The blue eyes appeared to us to be fine, 
and charmed us by their softness and brillian- 
cy. We celebrated the beauty of her mouth, 
and of her somewhat full and roseate lips. The 
outline of her face is long, but, being rounded 
at the chin, pleased us. Her cheeks, rather 
large, but handsome, had their share of our 
praise. Tier hair, of a very light auburn, ao 
eorded admirably with her fine complexion." 

1660.] Marriage of the King, 135 

Interview of Anne of Austria and her brother. 

The Infanta was dressed in white satin, or- 
namented with small bows of silver serge. She 
wore a large number of brilliant gems, and her 
head was decorated with a mass of false hair. 
The first lady of her household bore her train. 

During the ceremony Philip IV. stood be- 
tween his daughter and the proxy of Louis. 
The princess did not present her hand to Don 
Luis, nor did he present to her the nuptial ring. 
At the close of the ceremony the father em- 
braced his child, and silently the gorgeous train 
swept from the church. 

The next day Anne of Austria, accompanied 
by her second son, then Duke of Orleans, re- 
paired to the Isle of Pheasants to meet her 
brother, Philip IV., and the royal bride. Court 
etiquette did not yet allow Louis XIV. to have 
an interview with the lady to whom he was al- 
ready married by proxy. He, however, sent to 
his young queen, by one of his nobles, a pres- 
ent of some very fine jewels. 

Though Philip IV. was the brother of Anne 
of Austria, and though they had not met for 
many years, Spanish etiquette would not al- 
low airy demonstrations of tenderness. The in- 
terview was chillingly stately and dignified, 
Anne, for a moment forgetting the icy re 

136 Louis XIV [1660. 

■ « ■ ■ * 

Meeting of Louis XIV. and his bride. 

straints of the court, in sisterly love endeav- 
ored to salute her brother on the cheek. The 
Spanish king held back his head, rejecting the 
proffered fondness. The young bride threw 
herself upon her knees, requesting permission 
to kiss the hand of Anne of Austria. The 
queen-mother lifted her from the floor, and ten- 
derly embraced her. 

After some time had elapsed, Cardinal Maz- 
arin entered, of course from the French side, 
and, advancing to their majesties, informed 
them that there was a distinguished stranger 
at the door who begged permission to enter. 
Anne and Philip affected to hold a brief con- 
ference upon the subject, when they gave their 
consent for his admission. 

Louis XIY. entered in re£>'al attire to see for 
the first time, and to be seen for the first time 
by, his bride. As he approached, Maria There- 
sa fixed her eyes upon him, and blushed deep- 
ly. Philip IV. smiled graciously, and said au- 
dibly to Anne of Austria, "I have a very hand- 
some son-in-law." 

As we have mentioned, there was a line sep- 
arating the Spanish half of the room from the 
French half. Louis advanced to the centre 
of the apartment, and kneeled upon a cushion 

1660.] Marriage of the King. 137 

Tedious ceremonies. 

which had been provided for him there. The 
King of Spain kneeled also upon a similar 
cushion. Cardinal Mazarin then brought in a 
Bible, with a cross upon the volume. One of 
the high Spanish church officials did the same 
on his side. The treaty of peace was then 
read simultaneously to Philip IV. in Spanish, 
to Louis XIV. in French. At its conclusion, 
they each placed their hands upon the Bible, 
and took a solemn oath to observe its stipula- 
tions. During this scene one sovereign was 
ceremonially in France, and the other in Spain. 
Having taken the oath, they rose, and in stately 
strides advanced to the frontier line. Here they 
cordially embraced each other. 

At the conclusion of sundry other ceremo- 
nies, some tedious, some imposing, the two 
courts returned each to its own side of the 
riveT.- l^arja Theresa accompanied her father. 
The next riTorningpthe queen -mother, with a 
suitable retinue, returned to the island palace, 
where she met again the bride of her son, and 
conducted her to her own apartments at Saint 
Jean de Luz. Two days elapsed, while prepa- 
rations were made again to solemnize the mar- 
riage beneath the skies of France. 

A platform was constructed, richly carpeted, 

138 Louis XIV. [1660. 

Gorgeous entrance into the capita). 

from the residence of Anne of Austria to the 
church. The young maiden-queen was robed 
in French attire for this repetition of the nup- 
tial ceremony. She wore a royal mantle of 
violet-colored velvet, sprinkled with fleur de 
lis, over a white dress. A queenly crown was 
upon her brow. Her gorgeous train was borne 
by three of the most distinguished ladies of 
France. At the conclusion of this ceremony 
Louis XIV. received his bride. The king was 
then in the twenty-second year of his age. 

Until within a week of the royal marriage, 
the king wrote frequently to Mary Mancini. 
Then the correspondence was suddenly drop- 
ped. The king never after seemed to manifest 
any interest in her fate. 

After a few days of festivity, the court com- 
menced, on the 15th of June, its leisurely re- 
turn toward Paris. Having reached Vincennes, 
the illustrious cortege tarried for several days 
in the royal chateau there, until preparations 
could be completed for a magnificent entrance 
into the capital. The gorgeous spectacle took 
place on the 26th of August, 1660. For many 
weeks the saloons of the Louvre and the Tuih 
eries resounded with unintermitted revelry. 

Ve*v cruelly the queen-mother sent a mes* 

1660.] Marriage of the King. 141 

Cruelty of the queen-mother. The Prince Colonna. 

sage to Mary Mancini, expressing her regret 
that she could not be present at the royal nup- 
tials, and requiring her to come immediately 
to be present at the entree of the king and 
queen into the metropolis, and to share in the 
festivities of the palace. The order came to 
the crushed and bleeding heart of Mary like a 
death-summons. Accompanied by her two sis- 
ters, and with suitable attendants, she set forth 
on her sad journey. All France was rejoicing 
over the royal marriage, and as her carriage 
rapidly approached Paris, every hour pierced 
her heart with a new pang. "With all the for- 
titude she could summon, she could not retain 
the roseate glow of health and happiness. Tier 
cheeks were pale and emaciate, and her forced 
smile only proclaimed more loudly the grief 
which was consuming her heart. She alighted 
at the new palace of her uncle, Cardinal Maz- 
arin, and hastily retired to her apartment. 

She had scarcely entered her room ere a let- 
ter from the cardinal was presented to her, so- 
liciting her hand for Prince Colonna, one of the 
most illustrious nobles in wealth and rank in 
Europe. This marriage would give her posi- 
tion scarcely second to that of any lady not 
seated on a throne. The ambitious cardinal, 

142 Louis XI Y. [1660. 

Mary is presented to the young Queen of France. 

not fully understanding the delicate mechan- 
ism of a young lady's heart, had negotiated 
this matter, hoping thus to rescue his niece 
from the humiliating sympathy of the cour- 
tiers. But the noble nature of Mary recoiled 
from such a rescue. She had instinctively re- 
solved that in her own person, and by her own 
individual force of character, however great 
might be her sufferings, she would maintain 
her womanly dignity. Consequently, to the 
surprise of the cardinal, she returned a cold 
and positive refusal to the proposition. 

Soon after this she received a communica- 
tion to repair to the palace of Fontainebleau, 
there to be presented to the young queen, with 
her two sisters, and many others of the notabil- 
ities of the realm. The presentation was to 
take place on the ensuing Sunday, immediately 
after high mass. Her elder sister, the Countess 
de Soissons, assisted by the Princess de Conti, 
was to preside at the ceremony. 

Mary had just entered the audience-hall, and 
was approaching the queen to be presented, 
when Louis XIV. entered the apartment to in- 
vite Maria Theresa to accompany him in a walk 
in the park. Just at that moment Madame de 
Soissons was presenting Mademoiselle Mancini. 

1660.] Marriage of the King. 143 

Misery of Mary Mauciui. 

The king heard the name which had once been 
apparently so dear to him. Without the slight- 
est emotion or the least sign of recognition, he 
bowed, as if in the presence of a perfect stran- 
ger, and inquired of Mary respecting her uncle 
the cardinal. He then exchanged a few cour- 
teous words with the other ladies in the room 
with the same assumed or real indifference, and 
invited all the ladies of the circle to attend the 
queen in a hunt in which she was about to en- 

It seemed as if the fates had combined to 
expose poor Mary to every species of mental 
torture. Her brain reeled, and, scarcely able 
to retain her footing, she withdrew a little 
apart to rally her disordered senses. Unable 
any longer to endure these sufferings, she 
begged to be excused from attending the hunt, 
alleging that the feeble health of her uncle the 
cardinal rendered it necessary for her to return 
to Paris. Her carriage was ordered for her 
departure, but, at a short distance from the 
chateau, she encountered the whole hunting- 
party, filling the road with its splendor. Her 
carriage was compelled to stop, that the king 
and queen and royal train might pass. 

"And thus again she saw Louis, who pre- 

144 Louis XIV. [I60U 

Mary concludes to accept the hand of Prince Colonna. 

ceded the cavalcade on horseback, surrounded 
by the nobles of his court. The heart of Mary 
throbbed almost to bursting. It was impossi- 
ble that the king should not recognize the liv- 
ery of her uncle — the carriage in which he had 
so often been seated by her side ; lie would not, 
he could not pass her by without one word. 
She deceived herself. His majesty was laugh- 
ing at some merry tale, by which he was so 
much engrossed that he rode on without even 
bestowing a look upon the gilded coach and 
its heart-broken occupant."* 

Mary returned to Paris pondering deeply 
her awful destiny. She saw that she was fated 
to meet continually the king and queen in their 
festivities ; that with a broken heart she must 
feign gayety and smiles ; that by lingering tor- 
ture she must sink into the grave. There was 
no refuge for her but to escape from Paris and 
from the court. Apparently the only way to 
accomplish this was to accept the proffered 
hand of the Prince Colonna, who would re- 
move her from Paris to Pome. 

The next morning, pale and tearless, Mary 
drove to Vincennes, where Cardinal Mazarin 
then was, and informed him that she was ready 

* Louis XIV. and the Court of France, vol. ii., p. 48- 

i— n 

1660.] Marriage of the King. 14? 

Marriage of Mary Mancini. 

to marry Prince Col onna, provided the marriage 
could take place immediately, and that the car- 
dinal would, without an hour's delay, write to 
the king to obtain his consent. The cardinal 
was rejoiced, and proceeded with energy. The 
king, without one kind word, gave his cold and 
indifferent consent. In accordance with the 
claims of etiquette, he sent her some valuable 
gifts, which she did not dare to decline. 

" Mary walked to the altar," says Miss Par- 
doe, to whom we are indebted for many of 
these details, " as she would have walked to 
the scaffold, carrying with her an annual dow- 
er of one hundred thousand livres, and perjur- 
ing herself by vows which she could not fulfill. 
Her after career we dare not trace. Suffice it 
that the ardent and enthusiastic spirit which 
would, had she been fated to happiness, have 
made her memory a triumph for her sex, em- 
bittered by falsehood, wrong, and treachery, 
involved her in errors over which both charity 
and propriety oblige us to draw a veil ; and if 
all Europe rang with the enormity of her ex- 
cesses, much of their origin may safely be 
traced to those who, after wringing her heart, 
trampled it in the dust beneath their feet." 

A few days after the scenes of presentation 

148 Louis XIV. [1653. 

Character of Louis XIV. and Maria Theresa. 

at Fontainebleau, the royal pair made their 
triumphal entry into Paris. In those da} T s of 
feudal oppression and ignorance, the masses 
looked up to kings and queens with a degree 
of superstitious reverence which, in our en- 
lightened land, seems almost inconceivable. 
Louis XIY. was a heartless, selfish, pleasure- 
loving young man of twenty- one, who had 
never in his life done any thing to merit the 
especial esteem of any one. Maria Theresa 
was an amiable and pretty girl, who never 
dreamed that she had any other function than 
to indulge in luxuries at the expense of others. 
Millions were to be impoverished that she and 
her husband might pass through life reveling 
in luxury and charioted in splendor. One can 
not contemplate such a state of things without 
beino- agitated by the conflicting emotions of 
pity for such folly and indignation for such 
outrages. Louis and Maria Theresa were re- 
ceived by the populace of Paris with as much 
reverence and enthusiasm as if they had been 
angels descending from heaven, fraught with 
every blessing. 

Scarcelv had the morninc: dawned ere the 
whole city was in commotion. Tne streets 
were thronged with countless thousands in tha 

1G60.] Marriage of the King. 149 

Magnificent ceremonies. 

most brilliant gala dresses. Triumphal arches 
spanned the thoroughfares through which the 
royal procession was to pass. Garlands of flow- 
ers and hangings of brilliantly colored tapestry 
concealed the fronts of the houses from view. 
The pavements were strewn with flowers and 
sweet-scented herbs, over which the wheels of 
the carriages and the hoofs of the horses would 
pass without noise. At the barrier a gorgeous 
throne was erected. Here the young queen 
was seated in royal state, to receive the hom- 
age of the several distinguished officers of the 
city and of the realm. At the close of these 
ceremonies, which were rendered as imposing 
as civil and ecclesiastical pomp could create, 
the apparently interminable procession of car- 
riages, and horsemen, and footmen, with the 
most dazzling adornments of caparisons, and 
uniforms, and banners, with resounding music, 
and shouts of acclaim which seemed to rend 
the skies, commenced its entrance into the city. 
An antique car had been constructed, of 
massive and picturesque proportions, embla- 
zoned with gold. Upon this car the young 
queen was seated. She was, in reality, very 
beautiful, but in this hour of triumph, with 
flushed cheek and sparkling eye, robed in tbs 

150 Louis XI Y. [1660. 

Festivities continued. 

richest attire, brilliant with gems, and so con« 
spicuously enthroned as to be visible to every 
eye, she presented an aspect of almost celestial 

The young king rode by her side, magnifi- 
cently mounted. His garments of velvet, rich- 
ly embroidered with gold and jewels, had been 
prepared for the occasion at an expense of con- 
siderablv more than a million of dollars. The 


splendors of this gala-day were never forgotten 
by those who witnessed them. 

For succeeding weeks and months the court 
luxuriated in one continued round of gayety 
and extravagance. Night after night the mag- 
nificent saloons of the Louvre and the Tuileries 
resounded with music, while proud lords and 
high-born dames trod the floors in the mazy 
dance, and inflamed their passions with the 
most costlv wines. It can not be denied that 
a man who is trained from infancv amidst such 
scenes could acquire elegance of manner which 
those engrossed in the useful and ennobling 
employments of life rarely attain. .Neither 
can it be denied that this is as poor a school 
as can possibly be imagined to prepare one 
wisely to administer the affairs of a nation of 
twenty millions of people. In fact, Louis XI V 8 

1660.] Marriage of the King. 151 

Revolting state of society. 

never dreamed of consulting the interests of the 
people. It was his sole object to aggrandize 
himself by promoting the splendor, the power, 
and the glory of the monarchy. 

One does well to be angry when he reflects 
that, to maintain this reckless and utterly use- 
less extravagance of the king and the court, 
the millions of the peasantry of France were 
compelled to live in mud hovels, to wear the 
coarsest garb, to eat the plainest food, while 
their wives and their daughters toiled barefoot- 
ed in the fields. One would think that guilty 
consciences would often be appalled by the 
announcement, " Know thou that for all these 
things God will bring thee into judgment?" 

Though this revolting state of society /as 
the slow growth of time, and though no one 
there could have regarded this aristocratic op- 
pression as it is now estimated in the clearer 
light of the present day, still these outrages, 
inflicted by the strong upon the weak, by the 
rich upon the poor, merit the unmitigated con- 
demnation of men. as thev have ever incurred 
the denunciations of God. 

Cardinal Mazarin, more than any other man 
in France, was accountable for the enormous 
luxury of the court, and the squalid misery of 

152 Louis XIV. [1660, 

Mazarin guilty of great extortion. Fatal accident 

the people. He knew better. He was pro- 
fessedly a disciple of Jesus Christ, and yet a 
more thorough worldling could hardly have 
been in Christian or in pagan lands. He was 
one of the most gigantic robbers of the poor 
of which history gives any mention. 

In the midst of these festivities, Mazarin de- 
cided to invite the court to a grand ballet, 
which should transcend in splendor every thing 
which Paris had witnessed before. To deco- 
rate the saloons, a large amount of costly dra- 
peries were manufactured at Milan. In ar- 
ranging these tapestries, by some accident they 
took fire. The flames spread rapidly, utterly 
destroying the room, with its paintings and 
its magnificently frescoed roof. The fire was 
eventually extinguished, but the shock was a 
death-blow to the cardinal. He was then in 
feeble health. His attendants conveyed him 
from the blazing room to the Chateau Mazarin. 

The terror of the scene so aggravated the 
maladies from which the cardinal had for a 
long time suffered, that he was prostrated upon 
his bed, and it soon became evident that his 
dying hour was near at hand. There are many 
indications that the haughty cardinal was tor- 
tured by the pangs of remorse. He was gen- 

1660.] Marriage of the King. 153 

Sufferings of the cardinal. 

erallj silent, though extremely dejected. His 
body was subjected to the most extraordinary 
convulsions, while inaudible murmurs escaped 
his lips. 

Count de Brienne, in his memoirs, states 
that, on one occasion, he entered the chamber 
of the cardinal on tiptoe, his valet informing 
him that his eminence was asleep. He found 
Mazarin bolstered in an arm-chair before the 
fire, apparently in a profound slumber, " and 
yet," writes the count, " his body rocked to and 
fro with the greatest rapidity, from the back 
of his chair to his knees, now swinging to the 
right, and again to the left. These movements 
of the sufferer were as regular and rapid as 
the vibrations of the pendulum of a clock. At 
the same time inarticulate murmurs escaped 
his lips." 

The count, much moved by the wretched 
spectacle, summoned the attendant, and awoke 
the cardinal. Mazarin, in awaking, betrayed 
that troubled state of soul which had thus agi* 
tated his body. In most melancholy tones, he 

"My physician, M. Guenaud, has informed 
me that I can live but a few days." 

Count de Brienne, wishing to console him, 

154 Louis XI V. [1660. 

Oppressive measures of the cardinal. Confession of Mazarin. 

said, " But M. Guenaud is not omniscient. He 
may be deceived." 

The cardinal, uttering a heavy sigh, exclaim- 
ed, " Ah ! M. Guenaud well understands his 

Mazarin, as we have mentioned, had ac- 
quired enormous wealth. The resources of the 
kingdom had been in his hands. The poor had 
been oppressed by as terrible a system of tax- 
ation as human nature '.ild endure and live. 
With the sums thus extorted, he had not only 
maintained the arm T and supported the vo- 
luptuousness of the c«- irt, but he had also ap- 
propriated vast sum v without the slightest right 
to do so, to his own private enrichment. He 
was now dying. The thought of going to the 
bar of God with his hands full of this stolen 
gold tortured him. Constrained by the an- 
guish of a death-bed, he sent for a Theatine 
monk to act as his confessor, and to administer, 
in his last hours, the services of the Church. 

The virtuous monk was quite startled when 
the cardinal, with pale and trembling lips, in- 
formed him that he had accumulated a fortune 
of over forty millions of francs — $8,000,000. 
Mazarin allowed that he considered it a sin 
that he had bv such means accumulated such 

1660.] Marriage of the King. 155 

Advice of M. Colbert. 

vast wealth. His pious confessor boldly de- 
clared that the cardinal would peril his eternal 
salvation if he did not, before his death, make 
restitution of all his ill-gotten gains, reserving 
only that for which he was indebted to the 
bounty of the king. 

The dying sinner, trembling in view of the 
judgment, replied in faltering accents, " In 
that case I must relinquish all. I have re- 
ceived nothing from the king. My family 
must be left in utter beggary." 

The confessor was deeply moved by the as- 
pect of despair presented by the cardinal. Em- 
barrassed by the difficulties of the position, he 
sent for a distinguished member of the court, 
M. Colbert, to confer with upon the situation. 

The shrewd courtier, after a little delibera- 
tion, suggested that, as it would be manifestly 
impossible to restore the money to the differ- 
ent individuals, scattered all over the realm, 
from whom it had been gathered in the ordi- 
nary collection of the taxes, the cardinal should 
make a transfer of it, as a donation, to the sov- 
ereign. " The king," added M. Colbert, " will, 
without any question, annul so generous an act, 
and restore the property to you. It will then 
be yours by royal grant." 

156 Lovis XIV. [1661. 

Suspense of the cardinal. His property restored. 

The cardinal, who had lived, and moved, and 
had his being in the midst of trickery and in- 
trigue, highly approved of the suggestion. The 
papers were immediately made out, transfer- 
ring the property to the king. It was the 3d 
of March, 1661. Three days passed, and there 
was no response of rejection — no recognition 
of the gift. The cardinal was terror-stricken. 
As he sat bolstered in his chair, he wrung his 
hands in agony, often exclaiming, "My poor 
family ! my poor family ! they will be left 
without bread." 

At the close of the third dav M. Colbert en- 
tered the dvinsr chamber with a document in 
his hand, announcing that the kinp; had re- 
stored to the cardinal all his property, authoriz- 
ing him to dispose of it as he judged to be best. 

It is scarcely possible that this trickery could 
have satisfied the conscience of the cardinal. 
His confessor professed to be satisfied, and 
granted the dying man that absolution which 
he had previously withheld. Still Mazarin 
was extremely reluctant to die. He dressed 
with the utmost care ; painted his wrinkled 
brow and emaciate cheeks, and resorted to all 
the appliances of art to maintain the aspect of 
youth and vigor. But death could not thus be 

1661.] Marriage of the King. 157 

Death of Mazariu. 

His immense wealth. 

deceived. The destroying angel on the 9th of 
March bore his spirit away to the judgment 
seat of Christ. He died in the Chateau Maz- 
ariu, at the age of fifty-two, having been virtu- 
ally monarch of France for eighteen years. 


It appeared by the will of Mazarin that his 
property was vastly greater even than the enor- 
mous sum which he had reluctantly admitted. 
That portion of it which might be included 
under the term real estate, consisting of houses, 
lands, etc., amounted to over fifty millions of 
francs, while his personal effects, embracing 
the most costly furniture, diamonds, and other 

158 Louis XIV. [1661. 

Legacies of Mazarin. Views of Louis XIV. 

jewels, of which he strictly forbade any inven- 
tory to be taken, amounted to many millions 
more. The legacies to his nieces and to other 
aristocratic friends were truly princely. To 
the poor he left a miserable pittance amount- 
ing to about twelve hundred dollars. 

The cardinal was a heartless, avaricious man, 
of but little ability, and yet endowed with a 
very considerable degree of that cunning which 
sometimes proves to be temporarily so success- 
ful in diplomatic intrigues. The king was 
probably glad to be rid of him, for he could 
not easily throw off a yoke to which he had 
been habituated from childhood. During most 
of the cardinal's illness Louis continued his us- 
ual round of feasting and dancing. Upon his 
death he manifested no grief. It seems that 
he had previously made up his mind no longer 
to be troubled by a prime minister, but to rule 
absolutely by his own will. 

Two days before the death of Mazarin, when 
he was no longer capable of transacting any 
business, the president of the ecclesiastical as- 
sembly inquired of the king " to whom he 
must hereafter address himself on questions of 
public business." The emphatic and laconic 
response was, " To myself ? 

1661.] Festivities of the Court. 159 

Influence and reputation of Mazarin. 

Chapter V, 
Festivities of the Court. 

CAKDINAL MAZAKIN was exceedingly 
unpopular both with the court and the 
masses of the people. Haughty, domineering, 
avaricious, there was nothing in his character 
to win the kindly regards of any one. His 
death gave occasion to almost universal rejoi- 
cing. Indeed, it was with some difficulty that 
the king repressed the unseemly exhibition of 
this joy on the part of the court. The cardi- 
nal, as we have mentioned, had been for many 
years virtually monarch of France. He, in 
the name of the king, imposed the taxes, ap- 
pointed the ministry, issued all orders, and re- 
ceived all reports. The accountability was so 
entire to him that the monarch, immersed in 
pleasure, had but little to do with reference to 
the affairs of the realm. 

Immediately upon the death of Mazarin, the 
king summoned to his presence Tellier, minis- 
ter of War, Lionne, minister of State, and 
Fouquet, minister of the Treasury. He in« 

160 Louis XIV. [1661, 

Character of M. Fouquet. 

formed them that he should continue them in 
office, but that henceforth he should dispense 
with the services of a prime minister, and that 
they would he responsible to him alone. The 
young king was then twenty-two years of age. 
He was very poorly educated, had hitherto de- 
veloped no force of character, and appeared to 
all to be simply a frivolous, pompous, self -con* 
ceited young man of pleasure. 

Fouquet had held the keys of the treasury. 
When the king needed money he applied to 
him for a supply. The almost invariable re- 
ply he received was, 

" Sire, the treasury is empty, but his emi- 
nence will undoubtedly advance to your maj- 
esty a loan." 

The money came, the king little cared where 
from while reveling in luxury, and dancing 
and flirting with the beauties who crowded his 

Fouquet was an able but thoroughly unprin- 
cipled man. He had grown enormously rich 
by robbing the treasury. The king disliked 
him. But Fouquet knew that the king could 
not dispense with his services. He was a mar- 
velouslv efficient financier, and well knew how 
to wrench gold from the hands of the starving 

1661.] Festivities of the Court. 161 

Information given by M. Colbert. 

millions. The property lie had acquired by 
fraud was so great that he often outvied the 
king in the splendor of his establishments. 
Conscious of his power, he doubted not that 
he should still be able to hold the king, in a 
measure, subject to his control. 

Scarcely had Louis returned from his brief 
conference with his ministers to his cabinet at 
the Louvre, ere the secretary of the deceased 
cardinal, M. Colbert, entered, and requested a 
private audience. lie informed the king, to 
his astonishment and inexpressible delight, 
that the cardinal had concealed hfteen millions 
of money (three millions of dollars) in addition 
to the sums mentioned in his will ; that it was 
doubtless his intention that this money should 
immediately replenish the utterly exhausted 
treasury of his majesty. 

The king was overjoyed. He could scarce- 
ly believe the intelligence. Concealing the 
tidings from Fouquet, he speedily and secretly 
recovered the money from the several places 
in which it had been deposited. Fifteen mil- 
lions of francs would be a large sum at any 
time, but two hundred years ago it was worth 
three or four times as much as now. Fouquet 
was utterly bewildered in attempting to imag* 

162 Louis XIV. [1661. 

Appearance of Louis XIV. 

ine where the king had obtained the sums he 
was so lavishly expending. 

Louis XIV. by nature and by education was 
excessively fond of the pomp and the punctilios 
of court etiquette. As this new era of inde- 
pendence dawned upon him, it was his first 
and most anxious object to regulate even to 
the minutest details the ceremonies of the 
court. He was of middling stature. High- 
heeled shoes added between two and three 
inches to his height. His hair was very fine 
and abundant, and he wore it long, in masses 
of ringlets upon his shoulders. Deep blue 
eyes, a fair complexion, and well moulded feat- 
ures formed an unusually handsome counte- 
nance. He was stately in his movements, 
pompous in his utterance, and every word of 
every sentence was pronounced slowly and 
with distinct enunciation, as if an oracle were 
giving out its responses. 

There was no resemblance morally, intel- 
lectually, or physically between the king and 
his only brother Philip. They did not love 
each other. During their whole lives there 
had been one perpetual struggle on the part of 
the king to domineer over his brother, and on 
the part of Philip to resist that domination. 

1661.] Festivities of the Court. 163 

Charles II., King of England, and family. 

Philip was gentle in disposition, effeminate in 
manners, and, though a voluptuary in his tastes, 
a man of chivalric courage. As Duke of Or- 
leans he had large wealth, many retainers, and 
feudal privileges, which invested him with pow- 
er which even the king was compelled to re- 

Charles II. was now King of England. The 
whole nation had apparently received him with 
exultation. Suddenly, from being a penniless 
and crownless wanderer, he had become a sov- 
ereign, second in rank and power to no other 
sovereign in Europe. His mother Henrietta, 
his widowed sister the Princess of Orange, and 
his younger sister Henrietta, of course, shared 
in the prosperity and elevation of Charles. 
They were no longer pensioners upon the char- 
ity of their French relatives, but composed the 
royal family of the British court. 

It will be remembered how cruelly Louis 
treated his young cousin in the ball-room in 
the days of her adversity. Charles in those 
days had solicited of Mazarin the hand of his 
niece, Mary Mancini. But the proud cardinal 
promptly rejected the offer of a wandering 
prince, without purse or crown. Very soon 
after Charles II. ascended the throne of En- 

161 Louis XIV. [1661. 

The Princess Henrietta. Marriage of Philip. 

gland, Mazarin hastened to inform him that 
he was ready to confer upon him his niece. 
Charles, a profligate fellow, declined the prof- 
fered alliance, to the great chagrin of the 
haughty cardinal. 

Prosperity is sometimes a great beautifier. 
The young Princess Henrietta, upon whom the 
sun of prosperity was now shining in all its 
effulgence, seemed like a new being, radiantly 
lovelj T and self reliant. Philip fell desperately 
in love with her. With a form of exquisite 
symmetry, with the fairest complexion and 
lovely features, she suddenly found herself the 
sister of a monarch, transformed into the prin- 
cipal ornament, almost the central attraction, 
of the court. She went to England to attend 
the coronation of her brother. She then re- 
turned to Paris. On the 31st of March, 1661, 
she was married to Philip in the Palais Roj'al, 
in the presence of the royal family and the 
prominent members of the court. 

A few weeks after this the whole court re- 
moved to Fontainebleau. Here a month was 
spent in an incessant round of festivities. The 
fickle king, as soon as his brother had married 
Henrietta, saw in her new personal beauty and 
mental charms. It is not improbable that she 

1661.] Festivities of the Court. 165 

Fascinations of Henrietta. Grief of Maria Theresa. 

almost unconsciously, in order to avenge the 
past neglect of the king, had studied all court- 
ly graces, all endearments of manner, all con- 
versational charms, that she might compel the 
king to do justice to the fascinations of person 
and character with which she was conscious 
of being richly endowed. Unhappily, she was 
triumphantly successful ; perhaps far more so 
than she had intended. The changeful and 
susceptible king became completely entranced. 
He was continually by her side, exasperating 
Philip by his gallantry, and keenly wounding 
the feelings of his young queen. 

The marriage of the king with Maria The- 
resa had been merely a matter of state policy. 

lie connection had not been inspired by any 
ardent affection on either side. Though the 
king treated her with great politeness as the 
Queen of France, her enthusiastic nature claim- 
ed a warmer sentiment from her young hus- 
band. When she saw the attentions to which 
she was entitled lavished upon Henrietta, the 
wife of his brother, her affectionate heart was 
chilled. She became reserved, wept, sought re- 
tirement, withdrawing from all those gayeties 
in which her husband attracted the attention 
of the whole court by his undisguised admira- 

166 Louis XIV. [1661. 

The queen-mother appealed to. Mademoiselle de la Valliere. 

tion for Henrietta. At last her secret anguish 
so far overcame her that she threw herself, 
trembling and in tears, at the feet of Anne of 
Austria, and confided to her the grief of her 

The queen-mother could not have been sur- 
prised at this avowal. Her eyes were open to 
that which all the court beheld ; and, besides, 
Philip had already complained to his mother 
that Louis was endeavoring to rob him of the 
love of his bride. The remonstrances of the 
queen-mother were of no avail. The selfish 
king, ever seeking only his own pleasure, cared 
little for the wreck of the happiness of others. 
He devoted himself with increasing assiduity 
to the society of Henrietta, frequently held his 
court in her apartments, and instituted a series 
of magnificent fetes in her honor. 

Philip, then Duke of Orleans, and in the en- 
joyment of magnificent revenues and of much 
independent feudal power as brother of the 
king, was designated in the court as Monsieur- 
There was at that time in the court a young 
lady, one of Henrietta's maids of honor, Mad- 
emoiselle de la Valliere. Ller romantic ca- 
reer, which subsequently rendered her famous 
throughout Europe, merits a brief digression. 

1661.] Festivities of the Court. 167 

Visit to the palace of Blois. Fascination of Louis. 

Louise Francoise, daughter of the Marquis 
de la Valliere, was born at Tours in the year 
1644. She was, consequently, seventeen years 
of age at the time of which we write. Her 
father died in her infancy. Her mother, left 
with an illustrious name and a small income, 
took for a second husband a member of the 
court, Gaston, duke of Orleans, to whom we 
have previously alluded, who was brother of 
Louis XIII. and uncle of the king. He re- 
sided at Blois. 

As the king and court were on their way to 
the frontiers of Spain for the marriage of Louis 
with Maria Theresa, it will be remembered that 
he stopped for a short visit to his uncle at his 
magnificent palace of Blois. This grand castle, 
with its gorgeous architectural magnificence, 
its shaded parks and blooming gardens, was to 
Louise and her many companions an earthly 
paradise. Here, in an incessant round of pleas- 
ures', she had passed her girlhood. 

The sight of the young monarch, so graceful 
in figure, so handsome in features, so marvel- 
ously courteous in bearing, aroused all the en- 
thusiasm of the susceptible young maiden of 
sixteen. He was her sovereign, as well as to 
her eyes the most fascinating specimen of a 

168 Louis XIV. [1661. 

Louise captivated. Festivities at Fontainebleau. 

man. She felt as though she were gazing 
upon a superior, almost a celestial being. She 
dreamed not of having fallen in love with him. 
The feeling of admiration, and almost of ado- 
ration, was altogether too elevated for earthly 
passion. In the presence of the king she was 
but an obscure child. In the crowded assem- 
blage of wealth, and rank, and beauty which 
greeted the king at Blois, Louise was unnoticed. 
The king went on his way, leaving an impres^ 
sion on the heart of the young girl which could 
never be effaced. She thought it would be 
heaven to live in his presence, to watch his 
movements, to listen to his words, even though 
no word were addressed to her. 

Soon after this the Duke of Orleans died. 
His court was broken up. Louise was appoint- 
ed to a place as one of the maids of honor of 
the Princess Henrietta. She joined the court 
of Madame in Paris just before their depart- 
ure for Fontainebleau, to which place, of course, 
she accompanied them. 

Here, in the midst of scenes of most brilliant 
festivities, Louise feasted her eyes with the sight 
of the king. Louis was exceedingly fond of ex- 
hibiting his grace as a dancer. Among these 
entertainments, the king took part in a ballet 

1661.] Festivities of the Court. 169 

Discussion of the court ladies. 

with Henrietta, lie, in very picturesque dress, 
representing the goddess Ceres. At the close 
of the ballet, Louise, bewildered by the scene, 
and oppressed by inexplicable emotions, pro- 
posed to three of her lady companions that 
they should take a short walk into the dim 
recesses of the forest. It was a brilliant night, 
and the cool breeze fanned their fevered cheeks. 
As the four young ladies retired, one of the 
companions of the king laughingly suggested 
to him that they should follow them, and learn 
the secret of their hearts. 

The ladies seated themselves at the foot of 
a large tree, where they began to discuss the 
scenes and actors of the evening. The king 
and his companion, concealed at a short dis- 
tance, heard every word they uttered. Louise 
was for a time silent, but, being appealed to 
upon some subject, with very emphatic utter- 
ance remarked that she wondered that they 
could see any body, or think of any body but 
the king, when he was present. Upon her 
companions rallying her for being so much 
carried away by the splendors of royalty, she 
declared " that it was not the king, as a Icing, 
who excited her admiration, but it was Louis, 
as the most perfect of men; that his crown 

170 Louis XIT. [1661. 

Vexation of Louise. Discovery by Louis. 

added nothing to his splendor of person or 

The king could not see the speaker; he 
could only hear her enthusiastic and impas- 
sioned voice. The parties returned to the 
chateau. Louise was very much chagrined 
that she should have allowed herself so impru- 
dently to express her feelings. She knew that 
the conversation would be repeated, and feared 
that she should become a subject of ridicule 
for the whole court. In the interesting ac- 
count which she gives of these events in her 
autobiography, she says that she retired to her 
room and wept bitterly. 

The next morning Louise repaired to the 
apartments of Henrietta. She was surround- 
ed by her suite of ladies. The king was al- 
ready there. As, with his accustomed gallant- 
ry, he passed down the room addressing a few 
words to each, he approached Louise. Her 
heart throbbed violently. He had never spoken 
to her before. 

In response to his question, "And what did 
you think of the ballet last night ?" she, great- 
ly agitated, attempted an answer. The king 
observed her confusion, and instantly recog- 
nized her voice. It was the same which he 

1661.] Festivities of the Court. 171 

Louis and Mademoiselle de Valliere. 

had heard the evening before in the forest ex- 
pressing such enthusiastic admiration for his 
person. The king started, and fixed his eyes 
so intently upon her as to increase her embar- 
rassment and attract the observation of all 
around. With a profound bow the king passed 
on, but again and again was seen to turn his 
eyes to the blushing girl. From that time 
Mademoiselle de la Valliere became the ob- 
ject of the marked and nattering attention of 
the king. 

The unaffected timidity and modesty of her 
demeanor, her brilliant complexion, large and 
languishing bine eyes, and profusion of flaxen 
hair, were enough of themselves to excite the 
admiration of one so enamored of beauty as 
was Louis XIV. But, in addition to this, the 
self-love of Louis was gratified by the assurance 
that Louise admired him for his personal qual- 
ities, and not merely for his kingly crown. 
As the king was well aware of the gossip with 
which the court was filled in view of his de- 
votion to Madame Henrietta, he perhaps deem- 
ed it expedient, by special attention to Louise, 
to divert the current of thought and conversa- 

A few days after this a great hunt took place 

172 Louis XIY. [1661. 

Sudden interruption of festivities. 

in the park. It was a hot summer's day. At 
the close of the hunt a table was spread load- 
ed with delicacies. As the king and the cour- 
tiers, in the keenest enjoyment of the merry 
scene, were partaking of the sumptuous repast, 
almost unobserved a thunder-cloud arose, and 
there descended upon them a flood of rain so 
deluging that the company scattered in all di- 
rections for shelter. Louise running, she knew 
not where, soon found the king by her side. 
Politely taking her by the hand, he hurried 
her to a large tree, whose dense canop}^ of 
leaves promised some protection from the 
shower. There they stood, the young and 
handsome king, the beautiful maiden, the rain 
falling upon them in floods. It is interesting 
to record that the homage which rank paid to 
beauty was such that the king stood bare- 
headed, with his plumed hat in his hand, en- 
gaged during the hour the rain descended in 
animated conversation. After this it was ob- 
served that in the evening drives in the park 
he would ride on horseback for a short time 
by the carriage of the queen, or of the Prin- 
cess Henrietta, and would then gallop to the 
coach of Louise. 

He soon commenced a daily correspondence 

1661.] Festivities of the Court. 173 

Attentions of Louis. Anecdote 

with her. Louis was by no means a well-ed- 
ucated man. In fact, he might be almost re- 
garded as illiterate ; but his letters were writ- 
ten with so much delicacy of sentiment and 
elegance of expression, that Louise was embar- 
rassed in knowing how to return suitable re- 
plies. She was mortified at the thought of 
having her awkward letters compared with the 
elegant epistles which she received. In her 
embarrassment, she applied to the Marquis of 
Dangeau, a man of superior talents and cul- 
ture, to write her responses for her. 

Louise was a very noble girl, frank, sincere., 
confiding. On one occasion, when the king 
was complimenting her upon the rare beauty 
of her letters, the artless child confessed that 
she was not the author of them, but that they 
were written by the Marquis of Dangeau. 
The king smiled, and had the grace to admit 
that his letters to her were written by the same 
individual ! 

It had become a common entertainment of 
the court to put up in a lottery some beautiful 
article of jewelry. On one occasion the king 
drew a very costly pair of braceletSo All were 
looking with some curiosity to see to whom he 
would present them. Pausing for a moment, 

1U Louis XIV. [1661. 

The lottery and the bracelets. The palace of Vaux. 

the king admiringly contemplated the spark- 
ling gems, and then, threading his way through 
the throng of ladies, advanced to Mademoiselle 
de la Valliere, who stood a little apart, and 
placed them in her hands. Henrietta turned 
pale, and bit her lip with vexation. The queen, 
Maria Theresa, looked on with a marble smile, 
which revealed nothing of her feelings. Louise 
was embarrassed, but with admirable tact she 
assumed that the king had merely presented 
them to her for inspection. After carefully 
examining them, she handed them back to him, 
saying, w T ith a courtesy, " They are indeed very 
beautiful." Louis, instead of receiving them, 
said, with a stately bow, " In that case, made- 
moiselle, they are in hands too fair to resign 
them," and returned to his seat. 

As we have mentioned, the minister of the 
treasury was rolling in ill-gotten w T ealth. His 
palace of Vaux,* upon which he had expended 
fifteen millions of francs, eclipsed in splendor 

* The chateau of Vaux was a spacious and magnificent 
palace in the small village of Maincy, about three miles from 
Melun. M. Fouquet purchased it, and expended enormous 
sums in enlarging the buildings, ornamenting the gardens, 
and decorating the walls with paintings. His expenditures 
were so lavish that the chateau exceeded in magnificence 
any of the royal palaces. 

166L] Festivities of the Court. 175 

Splendor of the palace. Rebuke of Louis. 

the royal palaces of Fontainebleau and Saint 
Germain. The king disliked him as a man. 
He knew very well that he was robbing the 
treasury, and it was annoying to have a sub- 
ject live in state surpassing that of the sover- 
eign. M. Fouquet very imprudently invited 
Louis and all his court to a magnificent fete 
at his chateau. All the notabilities of France 
were bidden to this princely festival, which the 
minister resolved should surpass, in splendor, 
any thing that France had hitherto witnessed. 

The king, with an imposing escort, reached 
the gates of the chateau. Fouquet met him 
there, and conducted him and all the court, 
first, to the park. Here a spectacle of splen- 
dor presented itself which astonished the king. 
Notwithstanding all he had heard of the gor- 
geousness of his ministe? ; s palace, he was still 
not prepared for such a scene of luxury and 
enchantment. Instead of being gratified, he 
turned to Fouquet, and said to him bitterly, 

"I shall never again, sir, venture to invite 
you to visit me. You would find yourself in- 

Fouquet felt the keen rebuke. For a mo- 
ment he turned pale. He soon, however, ral- 
lied, and did all in his power to gratify his 


Louis XIV. 


Magnificent scenes. 

Continued festivities. 

guests by the gorgeous spectacles and sumptu- 
ous entertainments of Lis more than regal 
home. The king, led by his host, passed 
through all the apartments of the chateau, and 
acknowledged that in its interior adornings 
there was not probably another edifice in Eu 
rope which could equal it in magnificence. 


In the evening there was a ball in the grand 
saloon of the castle. The king having danced 
several times with Louise, she became fatigued, 
and expressed the desire to leave, for a short 
time, the heated room. Louis drew her arm 

1661.] Festivities of the Covet. 177 

Significant motto. Fouquet in danger, 

through his own, and, conducting her through 
the magnificent suite of apartments, which had 
already excited his displeasure, pointed out to 
her the armorial bearings of the proud minis- 
ter, which were conspicuous in every room. 
The shield represented a squirrel ascending 
the topmost branches of a tree, with the motto 
" quo non ascendant." 

Neither the king nor his fair companion un- 
derstood Latin. Just then the king's secretarv, 
M. Colbert, entered. He hated Fouquet. lie 
had already detected the minister in many fal- 
sifications of the treasury accounts, and had 
explained the robbery to the king. Louis had 
been for some time contemplating the arrest 
of Fouquet, but hardly dared, as yet, to strike 
one so powerful. 

As M. Colbert entered, Louise inquired of 
him the significance of the motto. 

" It signifies," he replied, " to what height 
may I not attain, and this significance is well 
understood by those who know the boldness of 
the squirrel or that of his master." 

Just at that moment another courtier came 
up, who remarked, "Your majesty has proba- 
bly not observed that in every instance the 
squirrel is pursued by a serpent." 

178 Louis XIV. [16ojl. 

Intervention of Louise. M. Fouquet imprisoned. 

The king turned pale with anger, and order- 
ed the captain of his musketeers to attend him. 
Louise understood full well what this meant. 
She threw herself at his feet, and entreated 
him not to sully his reputation by arresting a 
man whose guest he was, and who was enter- 
taining him and his court with the highest hon- 
ors. With the greatest difficulty, the king was 
dissuaded from immediate action. For a time 
he smothered his vengeance, and the court re- 
turned to Fontainebleau. 

The king's displeasure not only remained 
unabated, but increased with added evidence 
of the pride, display, and fraudulent transac- 
tions of his minister. At length he ordered 
him to be secretly arrested, conveyed in close 
confinement to Angers, while a seal was placed 
on all his property. But for the interposition 
of the kind-hearted Louise, the degraded min- 
ister would have lost his life. It was easy for 
the king, immersed in pleasure, to forget the 
miserable. M. Fouquet was left in his impris- 
onment, almost as entirely lost to the w T orld 
as if he had been consigned to the oubliettes 
of the Bastile. 

Soon after this, the 1st of November, 1661, 
Maria Theresa gave birth to a dauphin. Louis 

1661.] Festivities of the Court. 179 

Continued gayety at court. 

was greatly elated. Still, the pride which he 
took in the child as the heir to the throne did 
not secure for his neglected wife any more ten- 
derness of regard. lie treated her with great 
courtesy, while his affections were vibrating 
between Henrietta and Louise. Every thing 
seemed to combine to magnify the power of 
the king. Still, the pleasure-loving monarch, 
while apparently wholly resigning himself to 
the career of a voluptuary, was with instinctive 
sagacity striving to undermine the resources of 
the haughty nobility, and to render his own 
court the most magnificent in Europe. 

For several months the court continued im- 
mersed in gayety. Dancing, in all variety of 
costumes, was the great amusement of the king. 
There were balls every evening. Mademoi- 
selle de la Yalliere became more and more the 
object of the marked attentions of Louis. All 
his energies seemed absorbed in the small-talk 
of gallantry ; still there were occasional indica- 
tions that there were latent forces in the mind 
of the king which events might yet develop. 

One evening the king was attending a bril- 
liant ball in the apartments of Henrietta. As 
he was earnestly engaged in conversation with 
the beautiful Louise, some important dispatches 

180 Louis XI Y. [1662. 

Important dispatches. The king's orders. 

were placed in his hands. He seated himself 
at a table to examine them. Many eyes watch- 
ed his countenance as he silently perused the 
documents. It was observed at one moment 
that he turned deadly pale, and bit his lip with 
vexation. Having read the dispatches to the 
end, he angrily crushed them in his hand, and 
said to several of the officers of the court who 
were around him, 

" Our embassador in Loudon has been pub- 
licly insulted by the Spanish embassador." 
Then turning to M. Tellier, the Minister of 
War, he said, " Let my embassador at Madrid 
leave that city immediately. Order the Span- 
ish envoy to quit Paris within twenty-four 
hours. The conferences at Flanders are at an 
end. Unless Spain publicly recognizes the 
superiority of our crown, she may prepare for 
a renewal of the war." 

These orders of the king created general 
consternation. It wa^ virtually inaugurating 
another war, with all its untold horrors. M. 
Tellier seemed thunderstruck. The king, per- 
ceiving his hesitation, said to him imperiously, 

"Do you not understand my orders? I 
wish you immediately to assemble the counciL 
I will meet them in an hour." 

1662.] Festivities of the Court. 181 

Relationship of the French and Spanish courts. 

The king then returned to the ladies, and 
entered into trifling small-talk with them, as 
if nothing of moment had occurred. 

It seems that a dispute had arisen in London 
between the French and Spanish embassadors 
upon the point of precedence. This had led 
to a bloody rencounter in the streets between 
the retinues of the two ministers. The French 
were worsted. The Spaniards gained the con- 
tested point. 

The King of Spain was the brother of Anne 
of Austria. His first wife, the mother of Maria 
Theresa, was sister of Louis XIII., and conse- 
quently aunt of Louis XIV. Thus there was 
a peculiar bond of relationship between the 
French and Spanish courts. Still Louis was 
unrelenting in the vigorous action upon which 
he had entered. In addition to the hostile 
measures already adopted, a special messenger 
was sent to Philip IV. to inform him that, un- 
less he immediately recognized the supremacy 
of the French court, and made a formal apolo- 
gy for the insult offered the French minister, 
war would ensue. The Spanish king, unwill- 
ing, for so trivial a cause, to involve the two 
nations in a bloody conflict, very magnanimous- 
ly yielded to the requirements demanded by 

182 Louis XIV. [1662. 

The apology of Philip IV. Conduct of M. Crequi. 

the hot blood and wounded pride of his son- 
in-law. In the presence of all the foreign min- 
isters and the assembled court at Fontaine- 
bleau, the Spanish embassador made a humble 
apology, and declared that never again should 
the precedence of the embassador of France 
be denied. 

A very similar difficulty occurred a short 
time after at Rome. The French embassador 
there, the Duke of Crequi, an old feudal noble, 
accompanied by troops of retainers armed to 
the teeth, had, by his haughty bearing, become 
extremely unpopular both with the court and 
the people of Rome. The myrmidons of the 
duke were continually ensued m night-brawls 

J Do o 

with the police. On one occasion they even 
attacked, sword in hand, the Pope's guard, and 
put them to flight. The brother of Pope Alex- 
ander VII. , who hated Crequi, instigated the 
guard to take revenge. In an infuriated mob, 
they surrounded the palace of the embassador, 
and fired upon his carriage as it entered his 
court -yard. A page was killed, and sereral 
other attendants wounded. Crequi immediate- 
ly left the city, accusing the Pope of instigating 
the outrage. 

Louis XIV. demanded reparation, and the 

1G62.] Festivities of the Court. 183 

The Pope humbled. 

most humble apology. The proud Pope was 
not disposed to yield to his insolent demands. 
Affairs assumed so threatening an aspect, that 
the Pope ordered two of the guard, one an of- 
ficer, to be hung, and the Mayor of Rome, who 
was accused of having instigated the outrage, 
to be banished. This concession, however, by 
no means satisfied the irascible Louis. lie 
commenced landing troops in Italy, threaten- 
ing to besiege Pome. The Pope appealed to 
the Poman Catholic princes of Germany for 
aid. They could not come to his rescue, for 
they were threatened with war by the Turks. 
The unhappy Pope was thus brought upon his 
knees. lie was compelled to banish from 
Pome his own brother, Don Mario Chigi, and 
to send an embassador to Paris with the most 
humble apology. 

These events were but slight episodes in the 
gay life of the pleasure-loving king. He was 
still reveling in an incessant round of feasting 
and dancing, flitting with his gay court from 
one to another of his metropolitan and rural 

There are few so stern as not to feel emo- 
tions of sympathy rather than of condemna- 
tion for Louise de la Yalliere. She was a 

184: Louis XIY. [1662. 

Remorse of De la Valliere. Illness of Anne of Austria. 

child of seventeen, exposed to all the fascina- 
tions and temptations of the most luxurious 
court then upon the globe. But God has im- 
planted in every bosom a sense of right and 
wrong. She wept bitterly over her fall. Her 
remorse was so great that she withdrew as far 
as possible from society, and the anguish of 
her repentance greatly embarrassed her royal 

Henrietta was greatly annoyed at the pref- 
erence which the kins* had shown for Louise 
over herself. She determined to drive the un- 
fortunate favorite from the court. Anne of 
Austria, with increasing years, was growing 
oblivious of her own youthful indiscretions, 
and was daily becoming more stern in her 
judgments. A cancer had commenced its se- 
cret ravages upon her person. Its progress no 
medical skill could arrest. She tried to con- 
ceal the terrible secret which was threatening 
her with the most loathsome and distressing 
of deaths. In this mood of mind the haughty 
queen sent for the weeping Louise to her room. 
Trembling in every nerve, the affrighted child 
attended the summons. She found Anne of 
Austria with Henrietta by her side. The 
queen, without assigning any cause, sternly in- 

1662.] Festivities of the Court. 185 

Trials of Mademoiselle de la Valliere. 

formed her that she was banished from the 
court of France, and that suitable attendants 
would immediately convey her to a distant 
castle. Upon Louise attempting to make 
some inquiry why she was thus punished, the 
haughty queen sternly interrupted her with 
the reply "that France could not have two 

Louise staggered back to her room over- 
whelmed with despair. Both God and man 
will declare that, whatever fault there might 
have been in the relations then existing be- 
tween the king and this unprotected girl, the 
censure should have rested a thousand fold 
more heavily upon the king than upon his vic- 
tim. And yet Louise was to be driven in ig- 
nominy from the court, to enter into a deso- 
lated world utterly ruined. Through the re- 
mainder of the day no one entered her apart- 
ment. She spent the hours in tears and in the 
fever of despair. In the evening Louis him- 
self came to her room and found her exhaust- 
ed with weeping. lie endeavored to ascertain 
the cause of her overwhelming distress. She, 
unwilling to be the occasion of an irreconcila- 
ble feud between the mother and the son, 
evaded all his inquiries. He resorted to en- 

186 Louis XI Y. [1662. 

Disappointment. Flight of Mademoiselle de la Valliore. 

treaties, reproaches, threats, but in vain. Irri- 
tated by her pertinacious refusal, he suddenly 
left her without speaking a word of adieu. 

Louise seemed now truly to be alone in the 
world, without a single friend left her. But 
she then recalled to mind that she had former- 
ly entered into an agreement with the king 
that, in case of any misunderstanding arising 
between them, a night should not pass without 
an attempt at reconciliation. A new hope 
arose in her mind that the king would either 
return, or send her a note to inform her that 
his anger no longer continued. 

" And so she waited and watched, and count- 
ed every hour as it was proclaimed from the 
belfry of the palace. But she waited and 
watched in vain. When at length, after this 
long and weary night, the daylight streamed 
through the silken curtains of her chamber, 
she threw herself upon her knees, and praying 
that God would not cast away the victim who 
was thus rejected by the world, she hastened, 
with a burning cheek and a tearless eye, to 
collect a few necessary articles of clothing, and 
throwing on her veil and mantle, rushed down 
a private staircase and escaped into the street. 
In this distracted state of mind she pursued 

1662.]Festivities of the Coukt. 187 

Seeks admission to the convent, and is denied. 

her way to Chaillot,* and reached the convent 
of the Sisters of St. Mary, where she was de- 
tained some time in the parlor. At length 
the grating was opened and a portress appear- 
ed. On her request to be admitted to the ab- 
bess, she informed her that the community 
were all at their devotions, and could not see 
any one. 

" It was in vain that the poor fugitive en- 
treated and asserted her intention of taking 
the vows. She could extort no other answer, 
and the portress withdrew, leaving her sitting 
on a wooden bench desolate, heart-sick. For 
two hours she remained motionless, with her 
eyes fixed upon the grating, but it continued 
closed. Even the dreary refuge of this poor 
and obscure convent was denied her. Even 
the house of religion had barred its doors 
against her. She could bear up no longer. 
From the previous evening she had not tasted 
food, and the fatigue of body and anguish of 

* Chaillot was a village on the banks of the Seine, about 
a mile and a half from the Tnileries, near the present bridge 
of Jena. The nuns of the order of St. Mary had a celebra- 
ted convent here, where persecuted grandeur often sought an 
asylum. Within the walls of this convent the widowed 
queen of Charles I. and daughter of Henry IV. died in the 
year 1669. 

±88 Louis XIV. [1662. 

Reproaches of the qneeii-mother. Fury of Louis. 

mind which she had undergone, combined with 
this unaccustomed fast, had exhausted her 
slight remains of strength. A sullen torpor 
gradually overcame her faculties, and eventu- 
ally she fell upon the paved floor cold and in- 

The king had probably passed a very un- 
comfortable night. Early in the morning he 
learned that Louise had disappeared. Much 
alarmed, he hastened to the apartments of 
Madame Henrietta in the Tuileries. She un- 
feelingly expressed entire ignorance of the 
movements of Mademoiselle de la Yalliere. 
He immediately repaired to the rooms of his 
mother. She was unable to give him any in- 
formation respecting the lost favorite. Bitter- 
ly, however, she reproached her son with his 
want of self-control in allowing himself to 
cherish so strong an attachment to Mademoi- 
selle de la Yalliere. She accused him of hav- 
ing no mastery over himself. 

The king's eyes flashed with indignation. 
He was fully convinced that his mother was 
in some way the cause of the departure of 
Louise. Angrily he replied, 

" It may be so that I do not know how to 

* Louis XIV. and the Court of France, vol. ii., p. 125. 

1962.]Festivities of the Court. 189 

Power of Louis over Mademoiselle de la Valliere. 

control myself, but I will at least prove that I 
know how to control those who offend me." 

Turning upon his heel, he left the apartment. 
By some means he obtained a clew to the re- 
treat of Lonise. Mounting his horse, accom- 
panied by a single page, he galloped to the con- 
vent of Chaillot. As there had been no warn- 
ing of his approach, the grating still remained 
closed. He arrived just after the poor girl 
had fallen from the wooden bench upon the 
tesselated floor of the cold and cheerless ante- 
room. Her beautiful form lay apparently life- 
less before him. Tears fell profusely from his 
eyes. He chafed her hands and temples. In 
endearing terms he entreated her to awake. 
Gradually she revived. Frankty she related 
the cause of her departure, and entreated him 
to permit her to spend the remainder of her sad- 
dened life buried in the cloisters of the convent. 

The king insisted, with all his authority as a 
monarch, and with all his persuasive influence 
as a man, that Louise should return with him 
to the Louvre. He was inspired with the dou- 
ble passion of love for her, and anger against 
those who had driven her from his court. 
Louise, saddened in heart and crushed in spirit, 
with great reluctance at last yielded to his 

190 Louis XIV. [1665. 

Return of Mademoiselle de la Valliere to the court. Reinstated. 

pleadings. The page was dispatched for a car- 
riage. Seated by the side of the king. Made- 
moiselle de la Valliere returned to the palace, 
from which she supposed a few hours before 
she had departed forever. Louis immediately 
repaired to the apartment of Madame Henri- 
etta, and so imperiously insisted that Louise 
should be restored to her place as one of her 
maids of honor, that his sister-in-law dared not 
refuse. The influence of Anne of Austria was 
now nearly at an end. She was dying of slow 
disease, and, notwithstanding all her efforts to 
conceal the loathsome malady which was de- 
vouring her, she was compelled to spend most of 
her time in the seclusion of her own chamber. 
Louis XIV., in the exercise of absolute pow- 
er, with all the court bowing before him in the 
most abject homage, had gradually begun to 
regard himself almost as a God. Lie had nev- 
er recovered from the mortification which he 
hf.d experienced at the palace of Vaux, in find- 
ing a subject living in splendor which outvied 
that of the crown. He determined to rear a 
palace of such extraordinary magnificence that 
no subject, whatever might be his resources, 
could equal it. For some time he had been 
looking around for the site of the building, 

1663.]Festivities of the Court. 191 

Resolve of Louis. Versailles. 

which he had resolved should, like the Pyra- 
mids, be a monument of his reign, and excite 
the wonder and admiration of future ages. 

About twelve miles from Paris there was a 
little village of Versailles, surrounded by an 
immense forest, whose solemn depths frequent- 
ly resounded with the baying of the hounds 
of hunting-parties, as the gayly dressed court 
swept through the glades. 

On one occasion, Louis XIV., in the eager- 
ness of the chase, became separated from most 
of the rest of the party. Night coining on, he 
was compelled, and the few companions with 
him, to take refuge in a windmill, where they 
remained till morning. The mill was erected 
upon the highest point of ground. The king 
caused a small pavilion to be erected there for 
his accommodation, should he again chance to 
be overtaken by night or a storm. Pleased 
with the position, the king ere long removed 
the pavilion, and ordered his architect, Lemer- 
cier, to erect upon the spot an elegant chateau 
according to his own taste. A landscape gar- 
dener was also employed to ornament the 
grounds. The region soon was embellished with 
such loveliness as to charm every beholder. 
It became the favorite rural resort of the king. 

192 Louis XIV. [1664. 

Extravagance of tbe king. 

The chateau and its grounds soon witnessed 
a series of festivities, the fame of which re- 
sounded through all Europe. Republican 
America will ponder the fact, which the aris- 
tocratic courts of Europe ignored, that these 
entertainments of boundless extravagance were 
at the expense of the overtaxed and starving 
people. That king and courtiers might riot in 
luxury, the wives and daughters of peasants 
were harnessed by the side of donkeys to drag 
the plow. 

Early in the spring of 1664, the king, ac- 
companied by his court of six hundred indi- 
viduals, gentlemen and ladies, with a throng 
of servants, repaired to Versailles. The per- 
sonal expenses of all the guests were defrayed 
by the king with the money which he wrested 
from the people. With almost magical rapid- 
ity, the artificers reared cottages, stages, porti- 
coes, for the exhibition of games, and the dis- 
play of splendor scarcely equaled in the visions 
of Oriental romances. 

The first entertainment was a tournament 
The cavaliers were gorgeously dressed in the 
most glittering garb of the palmiest days of 
feudalism, magnificently mounted with won- 
drous trappings, with their shields and devices, 

1664.] Festivities of the Court. 193 

Magnificeut fetes. 

with their attendant pages, equerries, heralds 
at arras. Among them all the king shone pre- 
eminent. His dress, and the housings of his 
charger, embellished with the crown jewels, 
glittered with a profusion of costly gems which 
no one else could equal. 

The queen, with three hundred ladies of the 
court, brilliant in beauty, and in the most at- 
tractive dress, sat upon a platform, beneath tri- 
umphal arches, to view the procession as it 
passed. The gleaming armor of the cavaliers, 
their prancing steeds, the waving of silken 
banners, and the nourish of trumpets, present- 
ed a spectacle such as no one present had ever 
conceived of before. 

The tilting did not cease till evening. Sud- 
denly the blaze of four thousand torches illu- 
mined the scene with new brilliance. Tables 
were spread for a banquet, loaded with every 

" The tables were served by two hundred at- 
tendants, habited as dryads, wood deities, and 
fawns. Behind the tables, which w T ere in the 
form of a vast crescent, an orchestra arose as 
if by magic. The tables were illuminated by 
live hundred girandoles. A gilt balustrade 
inclosed the whole of the immense area." 


194 Louis XIV. [1664. 

Continued festivities. Moliere. Cost of Versailles. 

Chapter VI. 
Death in the Palace. 

THE festivities to which we have alluded in 
the last chapter, the expenses of which 
were sufficient almost to exhaust the revenues 
of a kingdom, lasted seven days. The prizes 
awarded to the victors in the lists were very 
costlv and magnificent. The renowned dram- 
atist Moliere accompanied the court on this oc- 
casion, to contribute to its amusement by the 
exhibition of his mirth-moving farces on the 

It was during these scenes that Louis XIV. 
selected Versailles as the site of the stupendous 
pile of buildings which was to eclipse all oth- 
er palaces that had ever been reared on this 
globe. This magnificent structure, alike the 
monument of munificence in its appointments, 
and of infamy in the distress it imposed upon 
the overtaxed people, eventually swallowed up 
the sum of one hundred and sixty-six million 
of francs — thirty-three million dollars. It is 
to be remembered that at that day money was 

1664.] Death in the Palace. 195 

Lenotre. Mansard. Large sum squandered. 

far more valuable, and far more difficult of 
acquisition than at the present time. 

For seven years an army of workmen was 
employed on the palace, parks, and gardens. 
No expense was spared to carry into effect the 
king's designs. The park and gardens were 
laid out by the celebrated landscape gardener 
Lenotre. The plans for the palace were fur- 
nished by the distinguished architect Mansard. 
Over thirty thousand soldiers were called from 
their garrisons to assist the swarms of ordinary 
workmen in digging the vast excavations and 
constructing the immense terraces. " It is es- 
timated that not less than forty millions ster- 
ling — two hundred million dollars — were ex- 
hausted upon the laying out of these vast do- 
mains and the erection of this superb chateau. 
Such was the extraordinary vigor with which 
the works were pushed, that in 1685, hardly 
twenty-five years after its commencement, the 
whole was in readiness to receive its royal oc- 
cupants. Here the royal family and the court 
resided until the Revolution of 1789. Every 
part of the interior as well as the exterior waa 
ornamented with the works of the most emi- 
nent masters of the times."* 

* Bradshaw's Guide through Paris and its Enviroo* 

i96 Louis XIY. [1664. 

Magnificent room at Versailles. Ill feeling toward La Valliere. 

The most magnificent room in the palace, 
called the grand gallery of Louis XIY., was 
two hundred and forty-two feet long, thirty- 
five feet broad, and forty-three feet high. The 
splendors of the court of Louis XIY. may be 
inferred from the fact that this vast apartment 
was daily crowded with courtiers. The char- 
acteristic vanity of the king is conspicuously 
developed in that he instituted an order of no- 
bility as a reward for personal services. The 
one great and only privilege of its members 
was that they were permitted to wear a blue 
coat embroidered with gold and silver precise 
ly like that worn by the king, and to follow 
the king in his hunting-parties and drives. 

The position of Mademoiselle de la Yalliere 
was a very painful one. Though the austere 
queen-mother was so ill in her chamber that 
she could do but little to harass Louise, Ma- 
dame Henrietta, who had been constrained to 
receive her as one of her maids of honor, did 
every thing in her power to keep her in p. state 
of perpetual anxiety. The courtiers generally 
were hostile to her, from the partiality with 
which she was openly regarded by the king. 
The poor child was alone and desolate in the 
^ourt, and scarcely knew an hour of joy. 

1665.] Death in the Palace. 199 

Anne of Austria becomes more ill. 

The queen-mother was rapidly sinking, de- 
voured by a malady which not only caused her 
extreme bodily suffering, but, from its loath- 
some character, affected her sensitive nature 
with the most acute mental pangs. She re- 
tired to the convent of Yal de Grace, where, 
with ever-increasing devotion as death drew 
near, she consecrated herself to works of piety 
and prayer. 

This vast structure is situated upon the left 
bank of the Seine, and is now in the limits of 
the city of Paris. 

" Anne of Austria had enjoyed the rare priv- 
ilege, so seldom accorded to her sex, of grow- 
ing old without in any very eminent c'egree 
losing her personal advantages. Her hands 
and arms, which had always been singularly 
beautiful, remained smooth and round, and 
delicately white. Not a wrinkle marred the 
dignity of her noble forehead. Her eyes, 
which were remarkably fine, lost neither their 
brightness nor their expression ; and yet for 
years she had been suffering physical pangs 
only the more poignant from the resolution 
with which she concealed them."* 

The queen-mother had made the most hero- 

* Louis XIV. and the Court of France, vol. ii., p. 145. 

200 Louis XI Y. [1665. 

Illness of Maria Theresa. The king sick. 

ic exertions to assume in public the appearance 
of health and gayety. None but her physi- 
cians were made acquainted with the nature 
of her malady. 

The young queen, Maria Theresa, who ap- 
pears to have been an amiable, pensive woman, 
endowed with many quiet virtues, was devoted- 
ly attached to the queen-mother. She clung 
to her and followed her, while virtually aban- 
doned by her royal spouse. She had no heart 
for those courtly festivities where she saw oth- 
ers with higher fascinations command the ad- 
miration and devotion of her husband. The 
queen was taken very ill with the measles. It 
speaks well for Louis XIV., and should be re- 
corded to his honor, that he devoted himself to 
his sick wife, by day and by night, with the 
most unremitting attention. The disease was 
malignant in its form, and the king himself 
was soon stricken down by it. For several 
days it was feared that he would not live. As 
he began to recover, he was removed to the 
palace of St. Cloud. The annexed view repre- 
sents the rear of the palace. The magnificent 
saloons in front open upon the city, and from 
the elevated site of the palace command a 
splendid view of the region for many leagues 

1665.] Death in the Palace. 203 

Abode of Madame Henrietta. Sufferings of the queen-mother. 

This truly splendid chateau, but a few miles 
from the Tuileries, had been assigned to Ma- 
dame Henrietta. Here she resided with her 
court, and here the king again found himself 
under the same roof with Mademoiselle de la 

In the mean time the health of the queen- 
mother rapidly declined. She was fast sink- 
ing into the arms of death. The young queen, 
Maria Theresa, having recovered, was unwill- 
ing to leave her suffering mother-in-law even 
for an hour. 

"The sufferings of Anne of Austria," writes 
Miss Pardoe, " must indeed have been extreme, 
when, superadded to the physical agony of 
which she was so long the victim, her peculiar 
fastidiousness of scent and touch are remem- 
bered. Throughout the whole of her illness 
she had adopted every measure to conceal, 
even from herself, the effects of her infirmity. 
She constantly held in her hand a large fan of 
Spanish leather, and saturated her linen with 
the most powerful perfumes. Her sense of 
contact was so acute and irritable that it was 
with the utmost difficulty that cambric could 
be found sufficiently fine for her use. Upon 
one occasion, when Cardinal Mazarin was jest- 

204 Louis XIV. [1665. 

Death of Philip IV. of Spain. Increasing ambition of Louis XIV. 

ing with her upon this defect, he told her * that 
if she were damned, her eternal punishment 
would be sleeping in linen sheets.' " 

Louis XIY. was too much engrossed with 
his private pleasures, his buildings, and rajridly 
multiplying diplomatic intrigues to pay much 
attention to his dying mother. It was not 
pleasant to him to contemplate the scenes of 
suffering in a sick-chamber. The gloom which 
was gathering around Anne of Austria was 
somewhat deepened by the intelligence she re- 
ceived of the death of her brother, Philip TV. 
of Spain. It was another admonition to her 
that she too must die. Though Philip IY. 
was a reserved and stately man, allowing him- 
Belf in but few expressions of tenderness to- 
ward his family, Maria Theresa, in her isola- 
tion, wept bitterly over her fathers death. 

The ties of relationship are feeble in courts. 
Louis XIY. was growing increasingly ambi- 
tious of enlarging his domains and aggrandiz- 
ing his power. The news of the death of the 
King of Spain was but a source of exultation 
to him. Though scrupulous in the discharge 
of the ceremonies of the Church, he was a 
stranger to any high sense of integrity or hon- 
or. In the treaty upon his marriage with Ma- 

1666.] Death in the Palace. 205 

Festivities at St. Cloud. 

ria Theresa he had agreed to resign every 
claim to any portion of the Spanish kingdom. 
The death of Philip IV. left Spain in the 
hands of a feeble woman. Louis XI V., upon 
the plea that the five hundred thousand crowns 
promised as the dower of his wife had not yet 
been paid, resolved immediately to seize upon 
the provinces of Flanders and Franche-Comte, 
which then belonged to the Spanish crown. 

Notwithstanding the queen-mother had be- 
come so exhausted, from long-continued and 
agonizing bodily sufferings, that she could not 
be moved from one bed to another without 
fainting, still the festivities of the palace com 
tinued unintermitted. The moans of the dy- 
ing queen in the darkened chamber could not 
be heard amidst the music and the revelry of 
the Louvre and the Tuileries. On the 5th of 
January, 1666, Philip, the Duke of Orleans, 
gave a magnificent ball in the palace of St. 
Clond. Louis XIV. was then in deep mourn- 
ing for his father-in-law. Decorously he wore 
the mourning dress of violet-colored velvet 
adopted by the court ; he, however, took care 
so effectually to cover his mourning garments 
with glittering and costly gems that the color 
of the material could not be discerned. 

206 Louis XIY. [1656. 

Dying scene. 

While her children were engaged in these 
revels, the queen - mother passed a sleepless 
night of terrible suffering. It was apparent 
to her that her dying hour f was near at hand. 
She was informed by her physician that her 
life could be continued but a few hours lon- 
ger. She called for her confessor, and request- 
ed every one else to leave the room. What 
sins she confessed of heart or life are known 
only to him and to God. Having obtained 
such absolution as the priest could give, she 
prepared to partake of the sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper. Her son Philip, with Madame 
his wife, were admitted to her chamber, where 
the king soon joined them. The Archbishop 
of Auch, accompanied by quite a retinue of 
ecclesiastics, approached w T ith the holy viati- 
cum. The most scrupulous regard was paid 
to all the punctilious ceremonials of courtly 

When the bishop was about to administer 
the oil of extreme unction, the dying queen re 
quested an attendant very carefully to raise 
the borders of her cap, lest the oil should touch 
them, and give them an unpleasant odor. It 
was one of the most melancholy and impress- 
ive of earthly scenes. The king, young, sensi- 

1666.] Death in the Palace. 207 

Death of the queen-mother. Funeral ceiemonies. 

tive, and easily overcome by momentary emo- 
tion, could not refrain from seeing in that sad 
spectacle, as in a mirror, his own inevitable lot. 
He fainted entirely away, and was borne sense- 
less from the apartment. 

On the morning of the 7th or 8th of Janu- 
ary, 1666, Anne of Austria died. Her will 
was immediately brought from the cabinet and 
read. She bequeathed her heart to the con- 
vent of Yal de Grace. It was taken from her 
body, cased in a costly urn, and conveyed to 
the convent in a carriage. The Archbishop 
of Auch seated himself beside the senseless 
relic, while the Duchess of Montpensier occu- 
pied another seat in the coach. 

At 7 o'clock of the next evening the re- 
mains of the queen left the Louvre for the 
royal sepulchre at St. Denis. It was a gloomy 
winter's night. Many torches illumined the 
path of the procession, exhibiting to the thou* 
sands of spectators the solemn pageant of the 
burial. The ecclesiastics and the monks, in 
their gorgeous or picturesque robes, the royal 
sarcophagus, the sombre light of the torches, 
the royal coaches in funereal drapery, and the 
wailing requiems, now swelling upon the 
breeze, and now dying away, blending with 


Louis XIV. 

The Abbey of St. Denis. 


the voices of tolling bells, presented one of the 
most mournful and instructive of earthly spec- 
tacles. The queen had passed to that tribunal 
where no aristocratic privileges are recognized, 
and where all earthly wealth and rank are dis- 

The funeral services were prolonged and 
imposing. It was not until two hours after 
midnight that the remains were deposited in 
the vaults of the venerable abbey, the oldest 
Christian church in France. 


The death of the queen-mother does no$ 

1666.] Death in the Palace. 209 

Duchess of Vaujours. Madame de Montespan. 

seem to have produced much effect upon the 
conduct of her ambitious and pleasure-loving 
son. He had cruelly betrayed the young and 
guileless Mademoiselle de la Yalliere, and she 
never ceased to weep over her sad fate. The 
king, however, conferred upon her the duchy 
of Yau jours, and the title of Madame. Her 
beauty began to fade. Younger and happier 
faces attracted the king. He became more 
and more arrogant and domineering. 

There was at that time rising into notice in 
this voluptuous court a young lady who w r as 
not only magnificently beautiful, but extreme- 
ly brilliant in her intellectual endowments. 
She was of illustrious birth, and was lady of 
the palace to the young queen. She deliber- 
ately fixed her affections upon Louis, and re- 
solved to employ all the arts of personal love- 
liness and the fascinations of wit to win his 
exclusive favor. She had given her hand, 
constrained by her family, to the young Mar- 
quis de Montespan. She had, however, stated 
at the time that with her hand she did not 
give her heart. 

The young marquis seems to have been a 

very worthy man. Disgusted with the folly 

and the dissipation of the court, he was anxious 

210 Louis XIV. [1666. 

Da.'Iy developments. Duke de Mazarin — his cynicism. 

to withdraw with his beautiful bride to his 
ample estates in Provence. She, however, en- 
tirely devoted to pleasure, and absorbed in her 
ambitious designs, refused to accompany him, 
pleading the duty she owed her royal mistress. 
He went alone. Madame de Montespan was 
thus relieved of the embarrassment of his pres- 

Louis XIV., while apparently immersed in 
frivolous and guilty pleasures, was developing 
very considerable ability as a sovereign. It 
daily became more clearly manifest that he 
was not a man of pleasure merely ; that he 
had an imperial will, and that he was endow- 
ed with unusual administrative energies. 

The Duke de Mazarin, a relative and rich 
heir of the deceased cardinal, and who assumed 
an austere and cynical character, ventured on 
one occasion, when displeased with some act 
of the king, to approach him in the presence 
of several persons and say, 

" Sire, Saint Genevieve appeared to me last 
night. She is much offended by the conduct 
of your majesty, and has foretold to me that if 
you do not reform your morals the greatest 
misfortunes will fall upon your kingdom." 

The whole circle stood aghast at his ef- 

1667.] Death in the Palace. 211 

He is silenced by the king. Sale of Dunkirk. 

frontery. But the king, without exhibiting 
the slightest emotion, in slow and measured ac- 
cents, replied, 

" And I, Monsieur de Mazarin, have recent- 
ly had several visions, by which I have been 
warned that the late cardinal, your uncle, plun- 
dered my people, and that it is time to make 
his heirs disgorge the booty. Remember this, 
and be persuaded that the very next time you 
permit yourself to offer me unsolicited advice, 
I shall act upon the mysterious information I 
have received." 

The duke attempted no reply. Such devel- 
opments of character effectually warded off all 
approaches of familiarity. 

The fugitive and needy Charles II. had sold 
to Louis XIV., for about one million of dollars, 
the important commercial town of Dunkirk, in 
French Flanders. The king, well aware of the 
importance of the position, had employed thir- 
ty thousand men to fortify the place. 

Louis now sent an army of thirty-live thou- 
sand men, in the highest state of military dis- 
cipline, to seize the coveted Spanish provinces 
of Flanders and Franche-Comte. At the same 
time, he sent a reserve of eight thousand troops 
to Dunkirk. The widowed Queen of Spain, 

212 Louis XIT. [1667. 

Inconsistencies in the character of Louis. 

acting as regent for her infant son, could make 
no effectual resistance. She had but eight thou- 
sand troops, in small garrisons, scattered over 
those provinces. The march of the French 
army was but as a holiday excursion. Fortress 
after fortress fell into their hands. Soon the 
banners of Louis floated proudly over the whole 
territory. The king displayed his sagacity by 
granting promotion for services rendered rath- 
er than to birth. This inspired the army with 
great ardor. He also boldly entered the trench- 
es under fire, and exposed himself to the most 
imminent peril. 

The opposite side of the king's character is 
displayed in the fact that he accompanied the 
camp with all the ladies of his court, eighteen 
in number. In each captured cit}^, the king 
and court, in magnificent banqueting-halls and 
gorgeous saloons, indulged in the gayest rev- 
elry. Amidst the turmoil of the camp, these 
haughty men and high-born dames surround- 
ed themselves with the magnificence of the 
Louvre and the Tuileries, and were served with 
every delicacy from gold and silver plate. 

The king, by the advice of his renowned 
minister of war, Marshal Louvois, placed strong 
p^rri Rons in the cities he had captured, while 

1667.] Death in the Palace. 213 

Treachery of Montespan. Sorrows of Louise. 

the celebrated engineer, M. Vauban, was in- 
trusted with enlarging and strengthening the 
fortifications. From this victorious campaign 
Louis XIV. returned to Paris, receiving adu- 
lation from the courtiers as if he were more 
than mortal. 

Madame de Montespan accompanied the 
court on this military pleasure tour. She 
availed herself of every opportunity to attract 
the attention of the king and ingratiate herself 
in his favor. She so far succeeded in exciting 
the jealousy of the queen against Madame de 
la Valliere, upon whom she was at the same 
time lavishing her most tender caresses, that 
her majesty treated the sensitive and despond- 
ing favorite with such rudeness that, with a 
crushed spirit, she decided to leave the court 
and retire to Versailles, there to await the con- 
clusion of the campaign. The king, however, 
interposed to prevent her departure, while at 
the same time he was daily treating her with 
more marked neglect, as he turned his attention 
to the rival, now rapidly gaining the ascendency. 
The unfortunate Louise was doomed to daily 
martyrdom. She could not be blind to the fact 
that the king's love was fast waning. Con- 
science tortured her, and she wept bitterly, 

214 Louis XIY. [1667. 

Letters of the Marquis de Montespan. 

Before her there was opened only the vista of 
weary years of neglect and remorse. 

Bat the Marchioness of Montespan was 
mingling for herself a cup of bitterness which 
she, in her turn, was to drain to its dregs. Her 
noble husband wrote most imploring letters, 
beseeching her to return to him with their in- 
fant child. 

"Come," he wrote in one of his letters, "and 
take a near view, my dear Athenais, of these 
stupendous Pyrenees, whose every ravine is a 
landscape, and every valley an Eden. To all 
these beauties yours alone is wanting. You 
will be here like Diana, the divinity of these 
noble forests." 

The excuses which the marchioness offered 
did by no means satisfy her husband. His 
heart was wounded and his suspicions aroused. 
At last he was apprised of her manifest en- 
deavors to attract the attention of the king. 
He wrote severely; informed her of the extent 
of his knowledge. He threatened to expose her 
conduct to her own family, and to shut her up 
in a convent. At the same time, he command- 
ed her to send to him, by the messenger who 
bore his letter, their little son, that he might 
not be contaminated by association with so un- 
worthy a mother 

1667.] Death in the Palace. 215 

Alarm of the marchioness. Cowardice of the Pope. 

It was too late. The marchioness was in- 
volved in such guilty relations with the king 
that she could not easily be extricated. Still 
she was much alarmed by the angry letter of 
her husband. The king perceived her anxiety, 
and inquired the cause. She placed the letter 
in his hands. He read it, changing color as he 
read. He then coolly remarked, 

" Our position is a difficult one. It requires 
much precaution. I will, however, take care 
that no violence shall be offered you. You had 
better, however, send him your son. The child 
is useless here, and perhaps inconvenient. The 
marquis, deprived of the child, may be driven 
to acts of severity." 

A mother's love was strong in the bosom of 
the marchioness. She wept aloud, and de- 
clared that she would sooner die than part with 
her son. Her husband soon after came to Par- 
is. He addressed the king in a very firm and 
reproachful letter, and for three months made 
earnest applications to the pope for a divorce. 
But the pope, afraid of offending Louis XIV., 
turned a deaf ear to his supplications. It was 
in vain for a noble, however exalted his rank, 
to contend against the king. 

The injured marquis, finding all his efforts 

216 Louis XIV. [1667. 

Sorrow of the marquis. Vexation of Louis. 

vain, returned wifeless and childless to his 
chateau. Announcing that to him his wife 
was dead, he assumed the deepest mourning, 
draped his house and the liveries of his serv- 
ants in crape, and ordered a funeral service to 
take place in the parish church. A numerous 
concourse attended, and all the sad ceremonies 
of burial were solemnized. 

The king was greatly annoyed. The scan- 
dal, which spread throughout the kingdom, 
placed him in a very unenviable position. The 
marquis would probably have passed the rest 
of his life in one of the oubliettes of the Bas- 
tile had he not escaped from France. Madame 
de Montespan, in her wonderfully frank Me- 
moirs, records all these facts without any ap- 
parent consciousness of the infamy to which 
they consign her memory. She even claims 
the merit of protecting her injured husband 
from the dungeon, saying, 

" Not being naturally of a bad disposition, I 
never would allow of his being sent to the Bas- 

There were continual antagonisms arising 
between Madame de laValliere and Madame 
de Montespan. They were both ladies of hon- 
or in the household of the queen, who, silent 

1667.] Death in the Palace. 217 

Petty jealousies. Employments of the king. 

and sad, and ever seeking retirement, endeav- 
ored to close her eyes to the guilty scenes trans- 
piring around her. Sin invariably brings sor- 
row. The king, supremely selfish as he was, 
must have been a stranger to any peace of 
mind. lie professed full faith in Christianity. 
Even lost spirits may believe and tremble. 
The precepts of Jesus were often faithfully 
proclaimed from the pulpit in his hearing. 
Remorse must have frequently tortured his 

From these domestic tribulations he sought 
relief in the vigorous prosecution of his plans 
for national aggrandizement. lie plunged into 
diplomatic intrigues, marshaled armies, built 
ships, multiplied and enlarged his sea-ports, es 
tablished colonies, reared magnificent edifices, 
encouraged letters, and with great sagacity 
pushed all enterprises which could add to the 
glory and power of France. 

The king had never been on good terms with 
his brother Philip. Louis was arrogant and 
domineering. Philip was jealous, and not dis- 
posed obsequiously to bow the knee to his im- 
perious brother. The king was unrelenting in 
the exactions of etiquette. There were three 
seats used in the presence of royalty : the arm- 

218 Louis XIV. [1667. 

Remarks of Louis upon court etiquette. 

chair, for members of the royal family ; the 
folded chair, something like a camp-stool, for 
the highest of the nobility ; and the bench, for 
other dignitaries who were honored with a res- 
idence at court. Philip demanded of his broth- 
er that his wife, Henrietta, the daughter of 
Charles I. of England, and the sister of Louis 
XIIL, being of royal blood, should be allowed 
the privilege of taking an arm-chair in the sa- 
loons of the queen. The king made the fol- 
lowing remarkable reply : 

" That can not be permitted. I beg of you 
not to persist in such a request. It was not I 
who established these distinctions. They ex- 
isted long before you and I were born. It is 
for your interest that the dignity of the crown 
should neither be weakened or encroached 
upon. If from Duke of Orleans you should 
one day become King of France, I know you 
well enough to believe that this is a point on 
which you would be inexorable. 

" In the presence of God, you and I are two 
beings precisely similar to our fellow-men ; 
but in the eyes of men we appear as some- 
thing extraordinary, superior, greater, and 
more perfect than others. The day on which 
the people cast off this respect and this voiim- 

1667.] Death in the Palace. 219 

They are unanswerable. Conquest of Holland determined on. 

tary veneration, by which alone monarchy is 
upheld, they will see us only their equals, suf- 
fering from the same evils, and subject to the 
same weaknesses as themselves. This once ac- 
complished, all illusion will be over. The laws, 
no longer sustained by a controlling power, will 
become black lines upon white paper. Your 
chair without arms and my arm-chair will be 
simply two pieces of furniture of equal impor- 

To these forcible remarks, indicating deep 
reflection, the Duke of Orleans, a nobleman 
rioting in boundless w T ealth, and enjoying 
amazing feudal privileges, could make no re- 
ply. The coronet of the noble and the crown 
of the absolute king would both fall to the 
ground so soon as the masses of the people 
should escape from the thrall of ignorance and 
deception. Philip left his brother silenced, yet 
exasperated. A petty warfare was carried on 
between them, by which they daily became 
more alienated from each other. 

The king, elated by his easy conquest of 
Flanders, resolved to seize upon Holland, and 
then proceed to annex to France the whole of 
the Low Countries. The Dutch, a maritime 
people, though powerful at sea, had but a feeble 

220 Louis XIV. [1668. 

Henrietta embassadress to England. Lonise Jtenee. 

land force. Holland was in alliance with En- 
gland. The first object of Louis was to dis- 
solve this alliance. 

There were two influences, money and beau- 
ty, which were omnipotent with the contempt- 
ible Charles II. Henrietta, the wife of Philip, 
was sent as embassadress to the court of her 
brother. The whole French court escorted her 
to the coast. The pomp displayed on this oc- 
casion surpassed any thing which had hereto- 
fore been witnessed in France. The escort 
consisted of thirty thousand men in the van 
and the rear of the roval cortege. The most 
beautiful women of the court accompanied the 
queen. Maria Theresa, the queen, and Henri- 
etta, occupied the same coach. The ladies of 
their households followed in their carriages. 

The king's two favorites — Madame de la 
Valliere, whose beauty and power were on 
the wane, and Madame de Montespan, avIio 
was then in the zenith of her triumph — were 
often invited by the king to take a seat in the 
royal carriage by the side of the queen and 
Madame. The most beautiful woman then in 
the French court was Louise Renee, subse- 
quently known in English annals as the Duch- 
ess of Portsmouth. She was to accompany 

1668.] Death ik the Palace. 221 

The bribe. Constant bickerings. 

her royal mistress to the court of Charles II., 
and had received secret instructions from the 
king in reference to the influence she was to 
exert. Louise Pence was to be the bribe and 
the motive power to control the king. 

Brilliant as was this royal cortege, the jour- 
ney, to its prominent actors, was a very sad 
one. The queen, pliant and submissive as she 
usually was, could not refrain from some ex- 
pressions of bitterness in being forced to such 
intimate companionship with her rivals in the 
king's favor. There were also constant heart- 
burnings and bickerings, which etiquette could 
not restrain, between Philip and his spouse 
Henrietta. Madame was going to London as 
the confidential messenger of the king, and she 
refused to divulge to her husband the purpose 
of her visit. Louis XIV. was embarrassed by 
three ladies, each of whom el aimed his exclu- 
sive attention, and each of whom was angry if 
he smiled upon either of the others. In such 
a party there could be no happiness. 

As this gorgeous procession, crowding leagues 
of the road, swept along, few of the amazed 
peasants who gazed upon the glittering specta- 
cle could have suspected the misery which was 
gnawing at the heart of these high-born men 

222 Louis XIV. [1669. 

Alliance between France t*n.<* idingland. Festivities thereon. 

and proud dames. Upon arriving at the coast, 
Henrietta, with her magnificent suite, embark- 
ed for England. The negotiation was perfect- 
ly successful. The fascinating Louise Renee 
immediately made the entire conquest of the 
king. Her consent to remain a member of his 
court, and the offer of several millions of money 
to Charles II., secured his assent to whatever 
the French king desirad. It is said that he 
the more readily abandoned his alliance with 
Holland, since he hated the Protestants there, 
whose religion so severely condemned his 
worthless character and wretched life. A 
treaty of alliance was speedily drawn up be- 
tween Charles II. and Louis XIY. 

His Britannic majesty then, with a splendid 
retinue, accompanied his sister Henrietta to the 
coast, where she embarked for Calais. The 
French court met her there with all honors. 
The return to Paris was slow. At every im« 
portant town the court tarried for a season 
of festivities. Henrietta, or Madame, as the 
French invariably entitled her, established her 
court at St. Cloud. Her husband, Monsieur, 
was very much irritated against her. Xeither 
of them took any pains to conceal from others 
their alienation. 

1669.] Death in the Palace. 223 

Maria Theresa. Vivacity of Henrietta. 

Madame was in the ripeness of her rare beau- 
ty, and enjoyed great influence in the court. 
The poor queen, Maria Theresa, was but a 
cipher. She was heart-crushed, and devoted 
herself to the education of her children, and 
to the society of a few Spanish ladies whom 
she had assembled around her. The king, 
grateful for the services which Henrietta had 
rendered him in England, and alike fascinated 
by her loveliness and her vivacity, was lavish- 
ing upon her his constant and most marked at- 
tentions, not a little to the chagrin of her irri- 
tated and jealous husband. 

On the 27th of June, 1669, Henrietta rose at 
an early hour, and, after some conversation 
with Madame de Lafayette, to whom she de- 
clared she was in admirable health, she attend- 
ed mass, and then went to the room of her 
daughter, Mademoiselle d'Orleans. She was in 
glowing spirits, and enlivened the whole com- 
pany by her vivacious conversation. After call- 
ing for a glass of succory water, which she 
drank, she dined. The party then repaired to 
the saloon of Monsieur. He was sitting for his 
portrait. Henrietta, reclining upon a lounge, 
apparently fell into a doze. Her friends were 
struck with the haggard and deathly expres- 

224 Louis XI Y. [1669. 

Henrietta poisoned. 

sion which her countenance suddenly assumed, 
when she sprang up with cries of agony. All 
were greatly alarmed. Her husband appeared 
as much so as the rest. She called for another 
draught of succory water. It was brought to 
her in an enameled cup from which she was 
accustomed to drink. 

She took the cup in one hand, and then, 
pressing her hand to her side in a spasm of 
pain, exclaimed," I can scarcely breathe. Take 
me away — take me away ! I can support my- 
self no longer." With much difficulty she was 
led to her chamber by her terrified attendants. 
There she threw herself upon her bed in con- 
vulsions of agony, crying out that she was dy- 
ing, and praying that her confessor might im- 
mediately be sent for. Three physicians were 
speedily in attendance. Her husband entered 
her chamber and kneeled at her bedside. She 
threw her arms around his neck, exclaiming, 

" Alas ! you have long ceased to love me ; 
but you are unjust, for I have never wronged 
you." Suddenly she raised herself upon her 
elbow, and said to those weeping around her, 
"I have been poisoned by the succory water 
which I have drank. Probably there has been 
some mistake. I am sure, however, that I have 

1669.] Death in the Palace. 225 

Intense suffering. Arrival of the king. 

been poisoned. Unless you wish to see me 
die, you must immediately administer some 

Her husband did not seem at all agitated by 
this statement, but directed that some of the 
succory water should be given to a dog to as- 
certain its effects. Madame Desbordes, the first 
fortune de chambre, who had prepared the bev- 
erage, declared that the experiment should be 
made upon herself. She immediately poured 
out a glass, and drank it. 

Various antidotes for poisons were adminis- 
tered. They created the most deadly sickness, 
without changing the symptoms or alleviating 
the pain. It soon became evident that the 
princess was dying. The livid complexion, 
glassy eyes, and shrunken nose and lips, show- 
ed that some agent of terrific power was con- 
suming her life. A chill perspiration oozed 
from her forehead, her pulse was impercepti- 
ble, and her extremities icy cold. 

The king soon arrived, accompanied by the 
queen. Louis XIV. was greatly affected by 
the changed appearance and manifestly dying 
condition of Henrietta. He sat upon one side 
of the bed and Monsieur upon the other, both 
weeping bitterly. The agony of the princess 


226 Louis XIV. [1669. 

Death scene of Henrietta. Suspicion of Louis. 

was dreadful. In most imploring tones she 
begged that something might be done to miti- 
gate her sufferings. The attendant physicians 
announced that she was dying. Extreme unc- 
tion was administered, the crucifix fell from 
her hand, a convulsive shuddering shook her 
frame, and Henrietta was dead. 

" Only nine hours previously, Henrietta of 
England had been full of life, and loveliness, 
and hope, the idol of a court, and the centre of 
the most brilliant circle in Europe. And now, 
as the tearful priest arose from his knees, the 
eostlv curtains of embroidered velvet were 
drawn around a cold, pale, motionless, and liv- 
id corpse." 

A post-mortem examination revealed the 
presence of poison so virulent in its action that 
a portion of the stomach was destroyed. Dread- 
ful suspicion rested upon her husband- The 
king, in a state of intense agitation, summoned 
his brother to his presence, and demanded that 
he should confess his share in the murder. 
Monsieur clasped in his hand the insignia of 
the Holy Ghost, which he wore about his neck, 
and took the most solemn oath that he was 
both directly and indirectly innocent of the 
death of his wife. Still the circumstantial 

1669.] Death in the Palace. 227 

Development of facts. 

evidence was so strong against him that he 
could not escape the terrible suspicion. 

Notwithstanding the absolute proof that the 
death of the princess was caused by poison, 
still an official statement was soon made out, 
addressed to the British court, and widely pro- 
mulgated, in which it was declared that the 
princess died of a malignant attack of bilious 
fever. Several physicians were bribed to sign 
this declaration. 

Notwithstanding this statement, the king 
made vigorous exertions to discover the perpe- 
trators of the crime. The following facts were 
soon brought to light. The king, some time be- 
fore, much displeased with the Chevalier de 
Lorraine, a favorite and adviser of Monsieur, 
angrily arrested him, and imprisoned him in 
the Chateau d'lf, a strong and renowned for- 
tress on Marguerite Island, opposite Cannes. 
Here he was treated with great rigor. He was 
not allowed to correspond, or even to speak 
with any persons but those on duty within the 
fortress. Monsieur was exceedingly irritated 
by this despotic act. He ventured loudly to 
upbraid his brother, and bitterly accused Ma- 
dame of having caused the arrest of his bosom 
friend, the chevalier. 

228 Louis XIV. [1669. 

Statements of M. Pernon. 

*—*— ' ■ — --■ — ■■ — -■ ■■ ' ■■■■■■ ■■ I I M | ^ 

Circumstances directed the very strong sus- 
picions of the king to M. Pernon, controller of 
the household of the princess, as being impli- 
cated in the murder. The king ordered him 
to be secretly arrested, and brought by a back 
staircase to the royal cabinet. Every attend- 
ant was dismissed, and his majesty remained 
alone with the prisoner. Fixing his eyes stern- 
ly upon the countenance of M. Pernon, Louis 
said, " If you reveal every circumstance rela- 
tive to the death of Madame^ I promise you 
full pardon. If you are guilty of the slightest 
concealment or prevarication, your life shall be 
the forfeit." 

The controller then confessed that the Chev- 
alier de Lorraine had, through the hands of a 
country gentleman, M. Morel, who was not at 
all conscious of the nature of the commission 
he was fulfilling, sent the poison to two con- 
federates at St. Cloud. This package was de- 
livered to the Marquis d'Effiat and Count de 
Beuvron, intimate friends of the chevalier, and 
who had no hope that he would be permitted 
to return to Paris so long as Madame lived. 
The Marquis d'Effiat contrived to enter the 
closet of the princess, and rubbed the poison 
on the inside of the enar ,o W cup from which 

1669.] Death in the Palace. 229 

Testimony of M. Pernon. 

Henrietta was invariably accustomed to drink 
her favorite beverage. 

The king listened intently to this statement, 
pressed his forehead with his hand, and then 
inquired, in tones which indicated that he was 
almost afraid to put the question, "And Mon- 
sieur — was he aware of this foul plot?" 

" No, sire," was the prompt reply. "Mon- 
sieur can not keep a secret; we did not ven- 
ture to confide in him." 

Louis appeared much relieved. After a mo- 
ment's pause, he asked, with evident anxiety, 
" Will you swear to this ?" 

" On my soul, sire," was the reply. 

The kin«: asked no more. Summoning: an 
officer of the household, he said, " Conduct M. 
Pernon to the gate of the palace, and set him 
at liberty." 

Such events were so common in the courts 
of feudal despotism in those days of crime, 
that this atrocious murder seems to have pro- 
duced but a momentary impression. Poor 
Henrietta was soon forgotten. The tides of 
gayety and fashion ebbed and flowed as ever 
through the saloons of the royal palaces. No 
one was punished. It would hardly have been 
decorous for the king to hang men for the mur* 

230 Louis XI Y. [1660. 

Return of Chevalier de Lorraine. Marriage of Monsieur. 

der of the princess, when he had solemnly an- 
nounced that she had died of a bilious fever. 
The Chevalier de Lorraine was ere long re- 
called to court. There he lived in unbridled 
profligacy, enjoying an annual income of one 
hundred thousand crowns, till death summoned 
him to a tribunal where neither wealth nor 
rank can purchase exemption from crime. 

Henrietta, who was but twenty-six years of 
age at the time of her death, left two daugh- 
ters, but no son. Monsieur soon dried his tears. 
He sought a new marriage with his rich, re- 
nowned cousin, the Duchess of Montpensier. 
But she declined his offered hand. With in- 
conceivable caprice, she was fixing her affec- 
tions upon a worthless adventurer, a miserable 
coxcomb, the Duke de Lauzun, who was then 
disgracing by his presence the court of the 
Louvre. This singular freak, an additional ev- 
idence that there is no accounting for the va- 
garies of love, astonished all the courts of Eu- 
rope. Monsieitr then turned to the Princess 
Charlotte Elizabeth of Bavaria. The alliance 
was one dictated by state policy. Monsieur 
reluctantly assented to it under the moral com- 
pulsion of the king. The advent of this most 
eccentric of women at the French court created 

1670.] Death in the Palace. 231 

Portrait of Charlotte Elizabeth. 

general astonishment and almost consternation. 
She despised etiquette, and dressed in the most 
outrl fashion, while she displayed energies of 
mind and sharpness of tongue which brought 
all in awe of her. The following is the por- 
trait which this princess, eighteen years of age, 
has drawn of herself : 

" I was born in Heidelberg in 1652. I must 
necessarily be ugly, for I have no features, 
small eyes, a short, thick nose, and long, flat 
lips. Such a combination as this can not pro- 
duce a physiognomy. I have heavy hanging 
cheeks and a large face, and nevertheless am 
short and thick. To sum up all, I am an ugly 
little object. If I had not a good heart, I 
should not be bearable any where. To ascer- 
tain if my eyes have any expression, it would 
be necessary to examine them with a micro- 
scope. There could not probably be found on 
earth hands more hideous than mine. The 
king has often remarked it to me, and made 
me laugh heartily. Not being able with any 
conscience to flatter myself that I possessed 
any thing good looking, I have made up my 
mind to laugh at my own ugliness. 1 have 
found the plan very successful, and frequently 
discover plenty to laugh at." 

232 Louis XIV. [1670. 

——————— — —— — - » ■ 1 1 — — ^i— ^— ■ i ■ i ■ ■• 

Her power of sarcasm. 

Notwithstanding the princess was ready to 
speak of herself in these terms of ridicule, she 
was by no means disposed to grant the same 
privilege to others. She was a woman of keen 
observation, and was ever ready to resent any 
offense with the most sarcastic retaliation. She 
perceived very clearly the sensation which her 
presence, and the manners which she had very 
deliberately chosen to adopt, had excited. Ma- 
dame de Fienne was one of the most brilliant 
wits of the court. She ventured to make her- 
self and others merry over the oddities of the 
newly-arrived Duchess of Orleans, m whose 
court both herself and her husband were pen- 
sioners. The duchess took her by the hand, 
led her aside, and, riveting upon her her un- 
qu ailing eye, said, in slow and emphatic tones, 

" Madame, you are very amiable and very 
witty. You possess a style of conversation 
which is endured by the king and by Mon- 
sieur because they are accustomed to it ; but 
I, who am onlv a recent arrival at the court, 
am less familiar with its spirit. I forewarn 
you that I become incensed when I am made 
a subject of ridicule. For this reason, I was 
anxious to give you a slight warning. If you 
spare me, we shall get on very well together ; 

1670.] Death in the Palace. 233 

Sharp reproof of Madame de Fienne. 

but if, on the contrary, you treat me as you 
do others, I shall say nothing to yourself, but I 
shall complain to your husband, and if he does 
not correct you, I shall dismiss him." 

The hint was sufficient. Neither Madame 
de Fienne nor any other lady of the court ven- 
tured after this to utter a word of witticism on 
the subject of the Duchess of Orleans. 

234 Louis XIV. [1070. 

Louis's fondness for jewels. 


Chapter VII. 
The War in Holland. 


the reigning favorite. The conscience- 
stricken king could not endure to think of 
death. He studiedly excluded from observa- 
tion every thing which could remind him of 
that doom of mortals. All the badges of 
mourning were speedily laid aside, and efforts 
were made to banish from the court the mem- 
ory of the young and beautiful Princess Hen- 
rietta, whose poisoned body was mouldering to 
dust in the tomb. 

The king had a childish fondness for bril- 
liant gems. In his cabinet he had a massive 
and costly secretary of elaborately carved rose- 
wood. Upon its shelves he had arrayed the 
crown jewels, which he often handled and ex- 
amined with the same delight with which a 
miser counts his gold. 

Mademoiselle de Montpensier, in her inter- 
esting Memoirs, relates the following anecdote, 
which throws interesting light upon the char- 

1670.] The War in Holland. 235 

Anecdote. Superstitions of Louis. 

acter of the king at this time. It will be re 
membered that Louis XIV. was born in one of 
the palaces at St. Germain, about fifteen miles 
from Paris. The magnificent terrace on the 
left bank of the winding Seine commands per- 
haps as enchanting a view as can be found any 
where in this world. The domes and towers 
of Paris appear far away in the north. The 
wide, luxuriant valley of the Seine, studded 
with villages and imposing castles, lies spread 
out in beautiful panorama before the eye. The 
king had expended between one and two mil- 
lions of dollars in embellishing the royal resi- 
dences here. But as the conscience of the king 
became more sensitive, and repeated deaths 
forced upon him the conviction that he too 
must eventually die, St. Germain not only lost 
all its charms, but became a place obnoxious to 
him. From the terrace there could be dis- 
tinctly seen, a few leagues to the east, the tower 
and spire of St. Denis, the burial-place of the 
kings of France. To Louis it suddenly became 
as torturing a sight as to have had his coffin 
ostentatiously displayed in his banqueting-hall. 
When Anne of Austria was lying on her bed 
of suffering, the king was one day pacing alone 
the terrace of St. Germain. Dark clouds were 


Louis XIV. 

Hie dread of the towers of St. Denis. 



drifting through the sky. One of these clouds 
seemed to gather over the towers of St. Denis. 
To the excited imagination of the king, the 
vapor wreathed itself into the form of a hearse, 
surmounted by the arms of Austria. In a few 
days the king followed the remains of his moth- 
er to the dark vaults of this their last resting- 
place. Just before the death of the hapless 
Henrietta, the same gloomy towers appeared 
to the king in a dream enveloped in flames, 

1670.] The War in Holland. 23? 

Ambition of Louis. He abandons St. Germain. 

and in the midst of the fire there was a skele- 
ton holding in his hand a lady's rich jewelry. 
But a few days after this the king was con- 
strained to follow the remains of the beauti 
ful Henrietta to this sepulchre. God seems to 
have sent warning upon warning upon thir 
wicked king. Absorbed in ambitious plan? 
and guilty passions, Louis had but little time 
or thought to give to his neglected wife or her 
children. In the same year his two daughters 
died, and with all the pageantry of royal woe 
they were also entombed at St. Denis. 

It is not strange that, under these circum- 
stances, the king, to whom the Gospel of Christ 
was often faithfully preached, and who was liv- 
ing in the most gross violation of the principles 
of the religion of Jesus, should have recoiled 
from a view of those towers, which were ever a 
reminder to him of death and the grave. He 
could no longer endure the palace at St. Ger- 
main. The magnificent panorama of the city, 
the winding Seine, the flowery meadows, the 
forest, the villages, and the battlemented cha- 
teaux lost all their charms, since the towers of 
St. Denis would resistlessly arrest his eye, for- 
cing upon his soul reflections from which he in- 
stinctively recoiled. He therefore abandoned 

238 Louis XIV. [1670. 

Severity of Louis to Madame de la Valliere. 

St. Germain entirely, and determined that the 
palace he was constructing at Versailles should 
be so magnificent as to throw every other abode 
of royalty into the shade. 

Madame de la Valliere was daily becoming 
more wretched. Fully conscious of her sin 
and shame, deserted by the king, supplanted by 
a new favorite, and still passionately attached 
to her royal betrayer, she could not restrain 
that grief which rapidly marred her beauty. 
The waning of her charms, and the reproaches 
of her silent woe, increasingly repelled the king 
from seeking her society. One day Louis en- 
tered the apartment of Louise, and found her 
weeping bitterly. In cold, reproachful tones, 
he demanded the cause of her uncontrollable 
grief. The poor victim, upon the impulse of 
the moment, gave vent to all the gushing an- 
guish of her soul — her sense of guilt in the 
sight of God — her misery in view of her igno- 
minious position, and her brokenness of heart 
in the consciousness that she had lost the love 
of one for whom she had periled her very soul. 

The king listened impatiently, and then 
haughtily replied, " Let there be an end to this. 
I love you, and you know it. But I am not 
to be constrained." He reproached her for 

1670.] The War in Holland. 239 

A second flitting to Chaillot. 

her obstinacy in refusing the friendship of her 
rival, Madame de Montespan, and added the 
cutting words, " You have needed, as well as 
Madame de Montespan, the forbearance and 
countenance of your sex." 

Poor Louise was utterly crushed. She had 
long been thinking of retiring to a convent. 
Her decision was now formed. She devoted 
a few sad days to the necessary arrangements, 
took an agonizing leave, as she supposed for- 
ever, of her children, to whom she was tender- 
ly attached, and for whom the king had made 
ample provision, and, addressing a parting let- 
ter to him, entered her carriage, to seek, for a 
second time, a final retreat in the convent of 

It was late in the evening when she entered 
those gloomy cells where broken hearts find a 
living burial. To the abbess she said, " I have 
no longer a home in the palace ; may I hope 
to find one in the cloister?" The abbess re- 
ceived her with true Christian sympathy . Aft- 
er listening with a tearful eye to the recital of 
her sorrows, she conducted her to the cell in 
which she was to pass the night. 

" She could not pray, although she cast her- 
self upon her knees beside the narrow pallet, 

240 Louis XIV. [1670. 

■ - j 

Night in the convent. Disappointment 

and strove to rejoice that she had at length es« 
caped from the trials of a world which had 
wearied her, and of which she herself was 
weary. There was no peace, no joy in her 
rebel heart. She thought of the first days of 
her happiness ; of her children, who on the 
morrow would ask for her in vain ; and then, 
as memory swept over her throbbing brain, she 
remembered her former flight to Chaillot, and 
that it was the king himself who had led her 
back again into the world. Her brow burned 
as the question forced itself upon her, Would 
he do so a second time ? would he once more 
hasten, as he had then done, to rescue her from 
the living death to which she had consigned 
herself as an atonement for her past errors ? 

" But hour after hour went by, and all was si- 
lent, Hope died within her. Daylight stream- 
ed dimly into the narrow casement of her cell. 
Soon the measured step of the abbess fell upon 
her ear as she advanced up the long gallery, 
striking upon the door of each cell as she ap- 
proached, and uttering in a solemn voice, ' Let 
us bless the Lord.' To which appeal each of the 
sisters replied in turn, 'I give him thanks.'" 

The deceptive heart of Louise led her to 
hope, notwithstanding she had voluntarily 

1670.] The Wae in Holland. 241 

Return of Louise to the palace. 

sought the cloister, that the king, yearning for 
her presence, would come himself, as soon as 
he heard of her departure, and affectionately 
force her hack to the Louvre. Early in the 
morning she heard the sound of carriage- 
wheels entering the court-yard of the convent. 
Her heart throbbed with excitement. Soon 
she was summoned from her cell to the par- 
lor. Much to her disappointment, the king 
was not there, but his minister, M. Colbert, pre- 
sented to her a very affectionate letter from 
his majesty urging her return. As she hesi- 
tated, M. Colbert pleaded earnestly in behalf 
of his sovereign. 

The feeble will of Louise yielded, while yet 
she blushed at her own weakness. Tears filled 
her eyes as she took leave of the abbess, grasp- 
ing her hand, and saying, " This is not a fare- 
well ; I shall assuredly return, and perhaps 
very soon." The king was much moved in re* 
ceiving her, and, with great apparent cordiali- 
ty, thanked her for having complied with his 
entreaties. Even the heart of Madame de Mon- 
tespan was touched. She received with words 
of love and sympathy the returned fugitive, 
whose rivalry she no longer feared, and in 

242 Louis XI Y. [1670. 

Madame de Montespan. Louis reproved by the clergy. 

whose sad career she perhaps saw mirrored her 
own future doom. 

Madame de Montespan was then in the ze- 
nith of her power. The king had assigned her 
the beautiful chateau of Clagny, but a short 
distance from Versailles. Here she lived in 
great splendor, entertaining foreign embassa- 
dors, receiving from them costly gifts, and in- 
troducing them to her children as if they were 
really princes of the blood. 

Notwithstanding the corruptions of the pa- 
pal Church, there were in that Church many 
faithful ministers of Jesus Christ, Some of 
them, in their preaching, inveighed very se- 
verely against the sinful practices in the court. 
Not only Madame de Montespan, but the king, 
often knew that they were directly referred 
to. But the guilty yet sagacious monarch care- 
fully avoided any appropriation of the denun- 
ciations to himself. Still, he was so much an- 
noyed that he seriously contemplated urging 
Madame de Montespan to retire to a convent. 
He even authorized the venerable Bossuet, then 
Bishop of Condom, to call upon Madame de 
Montespan, and suggest in his name that she 
should withdraw from the court and retire to 
the seclusion of the cloister. But the haughty 

1670.] The War in Holland. 243 

Power of France. Alarm in Holland, 

favorite, conscious of the power of her charms, 
and knowing full well that the king had only 
submitted to the suggestion, peremptorily re- 
fused. She judged correctly. The king was 
well pleased to have her remain. 

The preparations which the king was mak- 
ing for the invasion of Holland greatly alarm- 
ed the Dutch government. France had be- 
come powerful far beyond any other Conti- 
nental kingdom. The king had the finest army 
in Europe. Turenne, Conde, Vauban, ranked 
among the ablest generals and engineers of 
any age. While Louis XI Y. was apparently 
absorbed in his pleasures, Europe was surprised 
to see vast trains of artillery and ammunition 
wagons crowding the roads of his northern 
provinces. In his previous campaign, Louis had 
taken Flanders in three months, and Franche- 
Comte in three weeks. These rapid conquests 
had alarmed neighboring nations, and Holland, 
Switzerland, and England had entered into an 
alliance to resist farther encroachments, should 
they be attempted. 

Louis affected to be very angry that such a 
feeble state as Holland should have the impu- 
dence to think of limiting his conquests. Hav- 
ing, as we have mentioned, detached England 

244 Louis XI Y. [1670. 

Humble inquiry of the Dutch. Haughty reply of Louis. 

from the alliance by bribing with gold and fe- 
male charms the miserable Charles II., Louis 
was ready, without any declaration of war, even 
without any ojpenly avowed cause of grievance, 
to invade Holland, and annex the territory to 
his realms. The States-General, alarmed in 
view of the magnitude of the military opera- 
tions which were being made upon their bor- 
ders, sent embassadors to the French court hum- 
bly to inquire if these preparations were de- 
signed against Holland, the ancient and faith- 
ful ally of France, and, if so, in what respect 
Holland had offended. 

Louis XIY. haughtily and insolently replied, 
" I shall make use of my troops as my own dig- 
nity renders advisable. I am not responsible 
for my conduct to any power whatever." 

The real ability of the king was shown in 
the effectual measures he adopted to secure, 
without the chance of failure, the triumphant 
execution of his plans. Twenty millions of 
people had been robbed of their hard earnings 
to fill his army chests with gold. An army of 
a hundred and thirty thousand men, in the 
highest state of discipline, and abundantly sup- 
plied with all the munitions of war, were on 
the march W the northern frontiers of France. 

1670.] The Wak in Holland. 245 

Body-guard of the king. Reply of the Dutch merchant. 

These troops were supported by a combined 
English and French fleet of one hundred and 
thirty vessels of war. It was the most resist- 
less force, all tilings considered, Europe had 
then ever witnessed. We shall not enter into 
the details of this campaign, which are inter- 
esting only to military men. Twelve hundred 
of the sons of the nobles w T ere organized into 
a body-guard, ever to surround the king. They 
were decorated witli the most brilliant uni- 
forms, glittering with embroideries of gold and 
silver, and were magnificently mounted. The 
terrible bayonet was then, for the first time, at- 
tached to the musket. Light pontoons of brass 
for crossing the rivers were carried on wagons. 
A celebrated writer, M. Pelisson, accompanied 
the king, to give a glowing narrative of Ins 

As there had been no declaration of war and 
no commencement of hostilities, the king pur- 
chased a large amount of military stores even 
in the states of Holland, which, no one could 
doubt, he was preparing to invade. A Dutch 
merchant, being censured by Prince Mam-ice 
for entering into a traffic so unpatriotic, replied, 

" My lord, if there could be opened to me by 
sea any advantageous commerce with the in* 

246 Louis XIV. [1672. 

Forces of William, prince of Orange. Lonis's march unresisted. 

femal regions, I should certainly go there, even 
at the risk of burning my sails." 

Louis made arrangements that money should 
be liberally expended to bribe the command- 
ants of the Dutch fortresses. To oppose all 
these moral and physical forces, Holland had 
but twenty -five thousand soldiers, poorly armed 
and disciplined. They were under the com- 
mand of the Prince of Orange, who was in 
feeble health, and but twenty -two years of age. 
But this young prince proved to be one of the 
most extraordinary men of whom history gives 
any account; yet it was manifestly impossible 
for him now to arrest the torrent about to in- 
vade his courts. 

Louis rapidly pushed his troops forward into 
the unprotected states of Holland which bor- 
dered the left banks of the Rhine. His march 
was unresisted. Liberally he paid for what- 
ever he took, distributed presents to the nobles, 
and, preparing to cross the river, placed his 
troops in strong detachments in villages scat- 
tered along the banks of the stream. The king 
himself was at the head of a choice body of 
thirty thousand troops. Marshal Turenne com- 
manded under him. 

The whole country on the left bank of the 

1672.] The War in Holland. 247 

The French cross the Rhine. Death of the Duke of Longueville. 

Rhine was soon in possession of the French, as 
village after village fell into their hands. The 
main object of the Prince of Orange was to 
prevent the French from crossing the river. 
Louis intended to have crossed by his pontoons, 
suddenly moving upon some unexpected point. 
But there came just then a very severe drouth. 
The water fell so low that there was a portion 
of the stream which could be nearly forded. 
It would be necessary to swim the horses but 
about twenty feet. The current was slow, and 
the passage could be easily effected. By mov- 
ing rapidly, the Prince of Orange would not 
be able to collect at that point sufficient troops 
seriously to embarrass the operation. 

Fifteen thousand horsemen were here sent 
across, defended by artillery on the banks, and 
aided by boats of brass. But one man in the 
French army, the young Duke de Longueville, 
was killed. He lost his life through inebria- 
tion, and its consequent folly and crime. Half 
crazed with wine, he refused quarter to a Dutch 
officer who had thrown down his arms and sur- 
rendered. Peeling in his saddle, he shot down 
the officer, exclaiming, " No quarter for these 
rascals." Some of the Dutch infantry, who 
were just surrendering, in despair opened lire, 

248 Louis XIV. [1672. 

Passage of the Rhine. Louis a bigoted Cathoiic 

and the drunken duke received the death-blow 
he merited. 

This passage of the Rhine was considered a 
very brilliant achievement, and added much to 
the military reputation of Louis XIV., though 
it appears to have been exclusively the feat of 
the Prince of Conde. The cities of Holland 
fell in such rapid succession into the power of 
the French, that scarcely an hour of the day 
passed in which the king did not receive the 
news of some conquest. An officer named 
Mazel sent an aid to Marshal Turenne to say, 

" If you will be kind enough to send me fifty 
horsemen, I shall with them be able to take 
two or three places." 

It was on the 12th of June, 1672, that the 
passage of the Rhine was effected. On the 
20th the French king made his triumphal en- 
trance into the city of Utrecht. The king was 
a Catholic — a bigoted Catholic. Corrupt as he 
was in life, regardless as he was in his private 
conduct of the precepts of Jesus, he was ex- 
tremely zealous to invest the Catholic Church 
with power and splendor. It was with him a 
prominent object to give the Catholic religion 
the supremacy. 

Amsterdam was the capital of the republic. 

1672.] The War in Holland. 249 

Consternation. Reception of the Dutch deputies. 

The capture of that city would complete the 
conquest. Not only the republic would perish, 
but Holland would, as it were, disappear from 
the earth, her territory being absorbed in that 
of France. The consternation in the metropo- 
lis was great. The most noble and wealthy 
families were preparing for a rapid flight to 
the north. Amsterdam was then the most op- 
ulent and influential commercial town in Eu- 
rope. It contained a population of two hun- 
dred thousand sagacious, energetic, thrifty peo- 
ple. As is invariably the case in days of dis- 
aster, there were discordant counsels and angry 
divisions among the bewildered defenders of 
the imperiled realm. Some were for fiercely 
pressing the war, others for humbly imploring 

At length four deputies were sent to the 
French camp to intercede for the clemency of 
the conqueror. They were received with rail- 
lery and insult. After contemptuously com- 
pelling the deputation several times to come 
and go without any result, the king at last 
condescended to present the following as his 
terms : 

He demanded that the States of Holland 
should surrender to him the whole of the ter» 

250 Louis XIV. [1672. 

■■■ ■ ■—^—.i — ^ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ .i ■ - . ■■— ■■ ! ■ i i i i^ ■»■ i ■ mm 

Terms of Louis XIV. 

ritory on the left bank of the Rhine ; that they 
should place in his hands, to be garrisoned by 
French troops, the most important forts and for- 
tified towns of the republic ; that they should 
pay him twenty millions of francs, a sum equal 
to several times that amount at the present day ; 
that the French should be placed in command 
of all the important entrances to Holland, both 
by sea and land, and should be exempted from 
paying any duty upon the goods they should 
euter ; that the Catholic religion should be es- 
tablished every where through the realm ; and 
that every year the republic should send to 
Louis XIV. an embassador, with a golden med- 
al, upon which there should be impressed the 
declaration that the republic held all its priv- 
ileges through the favor of Louis XIY. To 
these conditions were to be added such as the 
States -General should be compelled to make 
with the other allies engaged in the war. 

The nations of Europe have been guilty of 
many outrages, but perhaps it would be diffi- 
cult to find one more atrocious than this. In 
reference to the cause of the war, Voltaire very 
truly remarks, " It is a singular fact, and wor- 
thy of record, that of all the enemies, there was 
not one that could allege any pretext whatever 

1672.] The War in Holland. 251 

Heroic conduct of the Dutch. The dikes pierced. 

for the war." It was an enterprise very simi- 
lar to that of the coalition of Louis XII., the 
Emperor Maximilian, and Spain, who conspired 
for the overthrow of the Venetian republic sim- 
ply because that republic was rich and prosper- 

These terms, dictated by the insolence of the 
conqueror, were quite intolerable. They in- 
spired the courage of despair. The resolution 
was at once formed to perish, if perish they 
must, with their arms in their hands. The 
Prince of Orange had always urged the vigor- 
ous prosecution of the war. Guided by his en- 
ergetic counsel, they pierced the dikes, which 
alone protected their country from the waters 
of the sea. The flood rushed in through the 
opened barriers, converting hundreds of leagues 
of fertile fields into an ocean. The inundation 
flooded the houses, swept away the roads, de- 
stroyed the harvest, drowned the flocks ; and 
yet no one uttered a murmur. Louis XIV., 
by his infamous demands, had united all hearts 
in the most determined resistance. Amster- 
dam appeared like a large fortress rising in the 
midst of the ocean, surrounded by ships of war, 
which found depth of water to float where 
ships had never floated before. The distress 

252 .louis XIV. [1672. 

Naval battle. Efforts of the Prince of Orange. 

was dreadful. It was the briny ocean whose 
waves were now sweeping over the land. It 
was so difficult to obtain any fresh water that 
it was sold for six cents a pint. 

Maritime Holland, though weak upon the 
land, was still powerful on the sea. The united 
fleet of the allies did not exceed that of the re- 
public. The Dutch Admiral Ruyter, with a 
hundred vessels of war and fifty fire-ships, re- 
paired to the coasts of England in search of 
his foes. He met the allied fleet on the 7th 
of June, 1672, and in the heroic naval battle 
of Solbaie disabled and dispersed it. This gave 
Holland the entire supremacy on the sea. Thus 
suddenlv Louis XIV. found himself checked, 
and no farther progress was possible. 

The Prince of Orange gave all his private 
revenues to the state, and entered into nego- 
tiations with other powers, who w^ere already 
alarmed by the encroachments of the French 
king. The Emperor of Germany, the Spanish 
court, and Flanders, entered into an alliance 
with the heroic prince. He even compelled 
Charles II. to withdraw from that union with 
Louis XIY. which was opposed to the interests 
of England, and into which his court had been 
reluctantly dragged. Troops from all quarters 

1672.] The War in Holland 253 

Louie returns to Paris. His extraordinary energy. 

were hurrying forward for the protection of 

The villainy of Louis XIV was thwarted. 
Chagrined at seeing his conquest at an end, 
but probably with no compunctions of con- 
science for the vast amount of misery his crime 
had caused, he left his discomfited army under 
the command of Turenne and the other gener- 
als, and returned to his palaces in France. 

The troops which remained in Holland com- 
mitted outrages which rendered the very name 
of the French detested. Louis, from the midst 
of the pomp and pleasure of his palaces, still 
displayed extraordinary energies. Agents were 
dispatched to all the courts of Europe with 
large sums of money for purposes of bribery. 
By his diplomatic cunning, Hungary was roused 
against Austria. Gold was lavished upon the 
King of England to induce him, notwithstand- 
ing the opposition of the British Parliament, 
to continue in alliance with France. Several 
of the petty states of Germany were bought 
over. Louis greatly increased his naval force. 
lie soon had forty ships of war afloat, besides 
a large number of fire-ships. 

But Europe had been so alarmed by his en- 
croachments and his menaces that, notwith- 


Louis XIV. 

Arch of triumph. 


standing his efforts at diplomacy and intrigue, 
he was compelled to abandon his enterprise, 
and withdraw his troops from the provinces he 
had overrun. 

In the early part of his campaign, Louis^ 
flushed with victory and assured of entire suc- 
cess, had commenced building, as a monument 
of his great achievement, the arch of triumph 
at the gate of St. Denis. The structure was 
scarcely completed ere he was compelled to 
withdraw his troops from Holland, to meet the 


1673.] The War in Holland. 255 

Skill and strategy of Turenne. 

foes who were crowding upon him from all 

Louis XIV. now found nearly all Europe 
against him. He sent twenty thousand men, 
under Marshal Turenne, to encounter the forces 
of the Emperor of Germany. The Prince de 
Conde was sent with forty thousand troops to 
assail the redoubtable Prince of Orange. An- 
other strong detachment was dispatched to the 
frontiers of Spain, to arrest the advance of the 
Spanish troops. A fleet was also sent, convey- 
ing a large land force, to make a diversion by 
attacking the Spanish sea-ports. 

Turenne, in defending the frontiers of the 
Rhine, acquired reputation which has made 
his name one of the most renowned in milita- 
ry annals. The emperor sent seventy thousand 
men against him. Turenne had but twenty 
thousand to meet them. By wonderful com- 
binations, he defeated and dispersed the whole 
imperial army. It added not a little to the 
celebrity of Turenne that he had achieved his 
victory by following his own judgment, in di 
rect opposition to reiterated orders from the 
minister of war, given in the name of the king. 

Turenne, a merciless warrior, allowed no 
considerations of humanity to interfere with 

256 Louis XI\. [1673. 

Barbarities of Turenne. Opinion of Voltaire. 

his military operations. The Palatinate, a 
country on both sides the Rhine, embracing a 
territory of about sixteen hundred square miles, 
and a population of over three hundred thou- 
sand, was laid in ashes by his command. It 
was a beautiful region, very fertile, and cover- 
ed with villages and opulent cities. The Elec- 
tor Palatine saw from the towers of his castle 
at Manheim two cities and twenty-five villages 
at the same time in flames. This awful de- 
struction was perpetrated upon the defenseless 
inhabitants, that the armies of the emperor, 
encountering* entire desolation, might be de- 
prived of subsistence. It was nothing to Tu- 
renne that thousands of women and children 
should be cast houseless into the fields to starve. 

Alsace, with nearly a million of inhabitants, 
encountered the same doom. Another prov- 
ince, Lorraine, which covered an area of about 
ten thousand square miles, and contained a 
population of one and a half millions, was 
swept of all its provisions by the cavalry of 
the French coin m and er. In reference to these 
military operations, Voltaire writes, 

" All the injuries he inflicted seemed to be 
necessary. Besides, the army of seventy thou- 
sand Germans, whom he thus prevented frorn 

1678.] The War in Holland. 257 

Death of Turenne. Peace of Nimeguen. 

entering France, would have inflicted much 
more injury than Turenne inflicted upon Lor- 
raine, Alsace, and the Palatinate." 

On the 27th of June, 1675, a cannon ball 
struck Turenne, and closed in an instant his 
earthly career. His renown filled Europe. 
He was a successful warrior, a dissolute man ; 
and few who have ever lived have caused more 
widespread misery than could be charged to 
his account. Such is not the character which 
best prepares one to stand before the judg- 
ment seat of Christ 

The war continued for two years with some- 
what varying fortune, but with unvarying blood 
and misery. At last peace was made on the 
14th of August, 1678 — the peace of Nimeguen, 
as it is styled. Louis XIY. dictated the terms. 
He was now at the height of his grandeur. 
He had enlarged his domains by the addition 
of Franche-Comte, Dunkirk, and half of Flan- 
ders. His courtiers worshiped him as a demi- 
god. The French court conferred upon him, 
with imposing solemnities, the title of Louis 
le Grand. The ambition of Louis was by no 
means satiated. He availed himself of the 
short peace which ensued to form plans and 
gather resources for new conquests 


258 Louis XI Y. [1678. 

Penitence and anguish of Louise de Valliere. 

Let us now return from fields of blood to 
life in the palace. Madame de la Valliere, 
upon her return from the convent, soon found 
herself utterly miserable. She had hoped that 
reviving affection had been the inducement 
which led Louis to recall her. Instead of this, 
his attentions daily diminished. Madame de 
Montespan had accompanied the king in his 
brief trip to Holland, and returned with him 
to Paris. She was all-powerful at court, and 
seemed to delight, by word and deed, to add 
to the anguish of her vanrpiished rival. After 
a dreary year of wretchedness, Louise could 
endure no longer a residence in the palace. 
Her mother, who had been exceedingly dis- 
tressed in view of the ignominious position oc- 
cupied by her daughter, entreated her to retire 
to the Duchy of Van jours with her children. 
Her mother promised to accompany her to 
that quiet yet beautiful retreat. But the spirit 
of Louise was broken. She longed only to 
sever herself entirety from the world, and to 
seek a living burial in the glooms of the clois- 
ter. In those days of sorrow, penitence and 
the spirit of devotion sprang up in her weary 

Louise was still young and beautiful Her 

1678.] The War in Holland. 259 

Takes leave of her children and the queen. 

passionate love for the king still held strong 
dominion over her. Grief brought on a long 
and dangerous illness. For many days her 
life was in danger. In view of the approach- 
ing judgment, where she felt that she soon 
must stand, the greatness of her transgression 
harrowed her soul, and increased her desire to 
spend the rest of her life in works of piety and 
in prayer. When convalescent, the king con- 
sented to her retirement to the Carmelite con- 
vent. Like one in a dream, she took leave of 
her children without a tear. Then, entering 
the apartment of the queen, she threw herself 
upon her knees, and with the sobbings of a re- 
morseful and despairing heart implored her 
pardon for all the sorrow she had caused her. 
The generous Maria Theresa raised her up, 
embraced her, and declared her entirely for- 

The morning of her departure arrived. The 
king, who was that day to leave Paris to visit 
the army in Flanders, attended high mass. 
Louise also attended. Absorbed in prayer, 
she did not raise her eves during the service. 
She then, pale as death, and leaning upon the 
arm of her mother, but for whose support she 
must have fallen, advanced to take leave of 

260 Louis KIT. [1678. 

Again at the convent. Faithfulness to duty. 

the king. The selfish monarch, with a dry eye 
and a firm voice, bade her adieu, coldly ex- 
pressing the hope that she would be happy in 
her retreat. Without the slightest apparent 
emotion, he saw Louise, with her earthly hap- 
piness utterly wrecked, enter her carriage and 
drive away, to pass the remainder of her joy- 
less years in the gloomy cell of the convent. 
He then turned and conversed with his com- 
panions with as much composure as if nothing 
unusual had happened. 

Louise, upon her arrival at the convent, cast 
herself upon her knees before the abbess, say- 
ing that hitherto she had made so ill a use of 
her free will that she came to resign it to the 
abbess forever. For thirty-six years the heart- 
broken penitent endured the hardships of her 
convent life — its narrow pallet, its hard fare, 
its prolonged devotions, its silence, and its rigid 
fastings. Under the name of Louisa of Mercy 
she with the most exemplary fidelity performed 
all her dreary duties, until, in her sixty-sixth 
year, she fell asleep, and passed away, we trust, 
to the bosom of that Savior who is ever ready 
to receive the returning penitent. 

The hapless Henrietta, duchess of Orleans, 
left a very beautiful daughter, Maria Louisa. 

1679.] The War in Holland. 261 

Marriage of the Duchess of Orleans with the King of Spain. 

Her charms of countenance, person, and man- 
ners attracted the admiration of the whole 
court, where she was a universal favorite. She 
was compelled by the king, as a matter of state 
policy, to marry Charles II., the young King 
of Spain, for whom she felt no affection. Bit- 
terly she wept in view of the terrible sacrifice 
she was compelled to make. But the will of 
the king was inexorable. Her melancholy mar- 
riage was solemnized with much splendor in 
the great chapel at St. Germain. She then 
left, with undisguised reluctance, for Madrid. 
The King of Spain, feeble in body, more feeble 
in mind, moody and melancholy, was charmed 
by her youth and beauty. Her mental endow- 
ments were such that she soon acquired entire 
ascendency over him. lie became pliant as 
wax in her hands. 

The cabinet at Vienna were alarmed lest 
Maria Louisa should influence her husband to 
unite with France against Germany. The 
Countess de Soissons was sent as a secret agent 
to the Spanish court. Beautiful and fascinat- 
ing, she soon became exceedingly intimate with 
the queen. One day Maria Louisa, oppressed 
by the heat, expressed regret at the scarcity of 
milk in Madrid, saying how much she should 

262 Louis XIV. [1679. 

The Countess de Soissons,, 

enjoy a good draught. The countess assured 
her that she knew where to obtain some of ex- 
cellent quality, and that, with her majesty's per- 
mission, she would have it iced and present it 
with her own hands. The queen received the 
cup with a smile, and drank it at once. In half 
an hour she was taken ill. After a few hours 
of horrible agony, such as her unhappy mother 
had previously endured from the same cause, 
she died. In the confusion, the countess es- 
caped from the capital. She was pursued, but 
her arrangements for escape had been so skill- 
fully made that she could not be overtaken. 

Maria Theresa, the neglected queen of France, 
had borne six children ; but of these, at this pe- 
riod, there was but one surviving son, the dau- 
phin. In his character there appeared a com- 
bination of most singular anomalies and con- 
tradictions. Though exceedingly impulsive 
and obstinate in obeying every freak of his 
fancy, he seemed incapable of any affection, 
and alike incapable of any hostility, except that 
which flashed up for the moment. 

" The example of his guardians had inspired 
him with a few amiable qualities, but his nat- 
ural vices defied eradication. His constitution- 
al tendencies were all evil. His greatest pleas* 

1679.] The War in Holland. 263 

Character of the danphin. 

ure consisted in annoying those about him. 
Those who were most conversant with his hu- 
mor could never guess the temper of his mind, 
lie laughed the loudest and affected the great- 
est amiability when he was most exasperated, 
and scowled defiance when he was perfectly 
unruffled. His only talent was a keen sense 
of the ridiculous. Nothing escaped him that 
could be tortured into sarcasm, although no 
one could have guessed, from his abstracted 
and careless demeanor, that he was conscious 
of any thing that was taking place in his pres- 
ence. His indolence was extreme, and his fa- 
vorite amusement was lying stretched upon a 
sofa tapping the points of his shoes with a cane. 
Never, to the day of his death, had even his 
most intimate associates heard him express an 
opinion upon any subject relating to art, liter- 
ature, or politics."* 

Such was the imbecile young man who, by 
the absurd law of hereditary descent, was the 
destined heir to the throne of more than twen- 
ty millions of people. The king was anxious 
to obtain for his son a bride whose alliance 
would strengthen him against his enemies. 
With that policy alone influencing him, he ap* 

* Louis XIV. and the Court of France, vol. ii., p. 268. 

264: Louis XIV. [1635. 

Monseigneur's indifference. Franfoise d'Aubigne. 

plied for the haiid of the Princess Mary Ann 
of Bavaria. It so chanced that she was in 
personal appearance exceedingly unattractive. 
The king said that, " though she was not hand- 
some, he still hoped that Monseigneur would 
be able to live happily with her" 

The dauphin, or Monseigneur as he was call- 
ed, seemed to be perfectly indifferent to the 
whole matter. He at one time inquired if the 
princess were free from any deformity. Upon 
being told that she was, he seemed quite con- 
tented, and asked no farther questions. In an- 
ticipation of the marriage, a lady, Madame de 
Maintenon, whose name henceforth became in- 
separably connected with that of Louis XIV., 
was appointed to the distinguished post of 
" mistress of the robes" to the dauphiness. We 
must now introduce this distinguished lady to 
our readers. 

The Marchioness Francoise d'Aubigne' was 
born of a noble Protestant family, in the year 
1635, in the prison of Kiort. Her mother, with 
her little boy, had been permitted to join her 
imprisoned husband in his captivity. Here 
Francoise was born, amidst scenes of the most 
extreme poverty and misery. The emaciate 
mother was unable to afford sustenance to her 

1640.] The War in Holland. 265 

Her apparent death and recovery. 

infant. A sister of Baron d'Aubigne, Madame 
de Vilette, took Frangoise to her home at the 
Chateau de Marcey, where she passed her in- 
fancy. After an imprisonment of four years, 
the baron was released ; but, as he refused to 
abjure Calvinism, Cardinal Richelieu would 
not permit him to remain in France. He con 
sequently, with his family, embarked for Mar- 
tinique. During the passage, Frangoise was 
taken ill and apparently died. As one of the 
crew was about to consign the body to its ocean 
burial, the grief-stricken mother implored the 
privilege of one parting embrace. As she 
pressed the child to her heart, she perceived in- 
dications of life. The babe recovered, to oc- 
cupy a position which tilled the world with 
her renown. 

Upon the island of Martinique prosperity 
smiled upon them. Madame d'Aubigne was 
a Catholic, though her husband was a Prot- 
estant. She at length took ship for France, 
hoping to save some portion of her husband's 
sequestered estates, but was unsuccessful. 
Upon her return to Martinique, she found that 
Baron d'Aubigne, during her absence, deprived 
of her restraining influence, had utterly ruined 
himself by gambling. Overwhelmed by re- 

266 Louis XIV. [1640. 

Franfoise a Protestant. Persecutions in consequence, 

gret and misery, be almost immediately sank 
into the grave. Madame d'Aubigne and ber 
Iwo children, in the extreme of poverty, re- 
turned to France. Madame de Vilette again 
took the little Francoise to the chateau of Mar- 
cey As her mother was a Catholic, Franchise 
had been baptized by a Romish priest, and 
reared in the faith of her mother,, The Count- 
ess de Neuillant, who was attached to the 
household of Anne of Austria, was her god- 
mother, and a very intense Catholic ; but Ma- 
dame de Vilette, the sister of the child's father, 
was a Protestant. The susceptible child was 
soon led to adopt the faith of her protectress. 
Catholic zeal was such in those days that 
Madame de Neuillant obtained an order from 
the court to remove the little girl from the 
Protestant family, and to place her under her 
own guardianship. Here every effort was 
made to induce Francoise to return to the 
Catholic faith, but neither threats nor entreat- 
ies were of any avail. She remained firm in 
her Protestant principles. The persecution 
she endured amounted almost to martyrdom. 
Madame de Neuillant, in her rage, imposed 
upon her the most humiliating and onerous 
domestic services. She was the servant of the 

1675.] The War in Holland. 267 

Sufferings of Franfoise. Death of her mother. 

servants. She fed the horses. She suffered 
from cold and hunger. Thus she, who subse- 
quently caused the revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes, and thus exposed the Protestants to 
the most dreadful sufferings, was a martyr of 
the religion of which she later became so ter- 
rible a scourge. 

The mother, witnessing the distress of her 
child, succeeded in withdrawing her from Ma- 
dame de Neuillant, and placing her in a con- 
vent. Here the Ursuline nuns won her over 
to the Catholic faith. Proud of their convert, 
who was remarkably intelligent and attractive, 
they kept her for a year. But as neither Ma- 
dame de Neuillant, from whom she had been 
removed, nor Madame de Vilette, who dread- 
ed her return to Romanism, would pay her 
board, they refused to give her any longer a 
shelter. Francoise left the convent, and join- 
ed her mother only in time to see her sink in 
sorrow to the grave. She was thus left, at 
fourteen years of age, in utter destitution, de- 
pendent upon charity for support 

268 Louis XIV. [1649. 

Beauty and intelligence of Francoise. 

Chapter YIII. 
Madame de Maintenon. 

THE extreme distress and destitution of 
Francoise touched the heart of Madame 
de Xeuillant. She again took the orphan child 
under her charge and returned her to school 
in the convent. Francoise gradually develop- 
ed remarkable beauty and intelligence. Her 
quiet, unobtrusive, instinctive tact gave her 
fascinating power over most who approached 
her. She often visited the countess, where she 
attracted much admiration from the fashiona- 
ble guests who were ever assembled in her sa- 
loons. The dissolute courtiers were lavish in 
their attentions to the highly-endowed child. 
Established principles of virtue alone saved 
her from ruin. Misfortune and sorrow had 
rendered her precocious beyond her years. It 
was her only and her earnest desire to take 
the veil, and join the sisters in the convent 
But money was needed for that purpose, and 
she had none. 

There was residing very near Madame tie 

1649.] Madame de Maintenon. 269 

Franfoise d'Aubigne and the poet Scarron. 

Neuillant, a very remarkable man, Paul Scar- 
ron. He was born of a good family, and had 
traveled extensively. Having run through the 
disgraceful round of fashionable dissipation, he 
had become crippled by the paralysis of his 
lower limbs, and was living a literary life in 
the enjoyment of a competence. He was still 
young. Imperturbable gayety, wonderful con- 
versational powers, and celebrity as a poet, 
caused his saloons to be crowded with distin- 
guished and admiring friends. Some one 
mentioned to him the situation of Francoise 
d'Aubigne, and her desire to enter the convent. 
His kindly heart was touched, and, heading a 
subscription -list, he soon obtained sufficient 
funds from among his friends to enable her to 
secure the retreat she desired. 

Quite overjoyed, the maiden hastened to the 
apartments of the poet to express her gratitude. 
Scarron was astonished when the apparition of 
a beautiful girl of fifteen, full of life, and with 
a figure whose symmetric grace the sculptor 
could with difficulty rival, appeared before 
him. Her heart was glowing with gratitude 
which her lips could hardly express, that he 
was furnishing her with means for a life-long 
burial in the glooms of the cloister. The poet 

270 Louis XIV. [1660. 

Scarron'8 proposal of marriage. 

gazed upon her for a moment quite bewildered, 
and then said, with one of those beaming smiles 
which irradiated his pale, intellectual face with 
rare beauty, 

" I must recall my promise ; I can not pro- 
cure you admission into a religious communi- 
ty. You are not fitted for a nun. You can not 
understand the nature of the sacrifice which 
you are so eager to make. Will you become 
my wife ? My servants anger and neglect me. 
I am unable to enforce obedience. Were they 
under the control of a mistress, they would do 
their duty. My friends neglect me ; I can not 
pursue them to reproach them for their aban- 
donment. If they saw a pretty woman at the 
head of my household, they would make my 
home cheerful. I give you a week to decide." 

Francoise returned to the convent bewilder- 
ed, almost stunned. She was alone in the 
world, living upon reluctant charity. There 
was no one to whom she could confidin^iv look 
for advice. The future was all dark before 
her. Scarron, though crippled, was still young, 
witty, and distinguished as one of the most pop- 
ular poets of the day. His saloon was the in- 
tellectual centre of the capital, where the most 
distinguished men were wont to meet. At the 

1660.] Madame de Maintenon. 271 

Marriage of Fran<;oise d'Aubigne. Becomes a governess. 

close of the week Francoise returned an affirm- 
ative answer. They were soon married. She 
found apparently a happy home with her crip 
pled but amiable husband. The brilliant cir 
cle in the midst of which she moved strength- 
ened her intellect, enlarged her intelligence, 
and added to that wonderful ease and graceful- 
ness of manner with which she was by nature 

In the year 1660 Monsieur Scarron died. 
He had lived expensively, and, as his income 
was derived from a life annuity which ceased 
at his death, his wife found herself again in 
utter destitution. She was then forty-five years 
of age. Madame de Montespan, who had fre- 
quently met her in those brilliant circles, which 
had been rendered additionally attractive by 
her personal loveliness and mental charms, per- 
suaded the king to appoint Madame Scarron 
governess for her children. A residence was 
accordingly assigned her near the palace of the 
Luxembourg, where she was installed in her 
responsible office. She enjoyed a princely res- 
idence, horses, a carriage, and a suite of serv- 
ants. The many attractions of Madame Scar- 
ron were not lost upon the king. He often 
visited her, loved to converse with her, and 

272 Louis XI V. [1660. 

Elevation of Madame Scarron. 

soon tlie jealousy of Madame de Montespan 
was intensely excited by the manifest fond- 
ness with which he was regarding the new fa- 

Greatly to the disgust of Madame de Monte- 
span, whose influence was rapidly waning, the 
king appointed Madame Scarron to the respon- 
sible office of Mistress of the Robes to the 
dauphin ess, Mary Ann of Bavaria, who was 
soon to arrive. He also conferred upon her 
the line estate of Maintenon, with the title of 
Marchioness of Maintenon. It was now the 
turn of Madame de Montespan to experience 
the same neglect and humiliation through 
which she had seen, almost exultingly, the un- 
happy Madame de la Valliere pass. 

The haughty favorite had reached her thir- 
ty-ninth year. The charms of youth were fast 
leaving her. Louis had attained his fortv-sec- 
ond year. Bitter reproaches often rose between 
them. The king was weary of her exactions. 
He made several efforts, but in vain, to induce 
her to retire to one of the estates which he had 
conferred upon her. The daily increasing al- 
ienation led the king more frequently to seek 
the soothing society of the calm, gentle, serious 
Madame de Maintenon. Her fascinations of 



1680.] Madame de Maihtenon. 275 

Personal appearance of Madame de Maintenon. , 

person and mind won his admiration, while her 
virtues commanded his respect. 

Such was the posture of affairs when prep- 
arations were made for the reception of the 
dauphiness with the utmost magnificence. The 
costumes of Madame de Maintenon were partic- 
ularly remarked for their splendor, being cov- 
ered with jewels and embroidered with gold. 

"Madame de Maintenon, although in her 
forty-fifth year, had lost no charm save that of 
youth, which had been replaced by a stately 
grace, and a dignified self-possession that ren- 
dered it almost impossible to regret the lighter 
and less finished attractions of buoyancy and 
display. Her hands and arms were singularly 
beautiful ; her eyes had lost nothing of then 
fire ; her voice was harmoniously modulated, 
and there was in the w T hole of her demeanor 
unstudied ease, which was as far removed from 
presumption as from servility.""* 

Madame de Montespan was so annoyed by 
the honors conferred upon Madame de Main- 
tenon that she was betrayed into saying, " I 
pity the young foreigner, who can not fail to 
be eclipsed in every way by her Mistress of 
the RohesP 

* Louis XIV. and the Court of France, vol. ii., p. 274. 

276 Louis XIY. [1680. 

Portrait of Ann of Austria. The Princess of Tuscany. 

Early in the year 1680 Madame de Main- 
tenon and M. Bossuet, bishop of Meaux, who 
had educated the dauphin, accompanied by a 
suitable retinue, proceeded to Schelestadt to re- 
ceive the dauphiness. Here the ceremony of 
marriage by proxy was to be solemnized. The 
king and the dauphin proceeded as far as Vit- 
ry le Francais to receive the bride. She was 
not beautiful, " but she was," writes Madame 
de Sevigne, " very graceful ; her hands and 
arms were exquisitely moulded. She had so 
fine a figure, so admirable a carriage, such 
handsome teeth, such magnificent hair, and so 
much amiability of manner, that she was cour- 
teous without being insipid, familiar without 
losing her dignity, and had so charming a de- 
portment that she might be pardoned for not 
pleasing at first sight." 

Louis seemed quite delighted with his new 
daughter-in-law, and devoted himself much to 
her entertainment. She was accompanied by 
her sister, the Princess of Tuscany, who was 
extremely beautiful. The king, in conversa- 
tion with Mary Ann, remarked, "You never 
mentioned to me the fact that the Princess of 
Tuscany was so singularly lovely." With tact 
which gave evidence of her self-possession and 

1680.] Madame de Maintenon. 277 

Unhappiness of the daupliiness. 

ready wit, the daupliiness replied, " How can 
I remember, sire, that my sister monopolized 
all the beauty of the family, when I, on my 
part, have monopolized all its happiness." 

The young daupliiness had sufficient pene- 
tration soon to perceive that the attentions 
which the king was apparently devoting to 
her were due mainly to his desire to enjoy (he 
society of the beautiful and agreeable Mistress 
of the Robes. The daupliiness was annoyed. 
Naturally of a retiring disposition, very fond 
of books and of music, she soon wearied of the 
perpetual whirl of fashion and frivolity, and 
gradually withdrew as much as possible from 
the society of the court. She imbibed a strong 
dislike to Madame de Maintenon, which dis- 
like Madame de Montespan did every tiling in 
her power to increase. The daupliiness be- 
came very unhappy. She soon found that her 
husband was a mere cipher, whom she could 
neither regard with respect nor affection. 
Louis XIY. allowed the daupliiness to pursue 
her own course. While ever treating her with 
the most punctilious politeness, he continued, 
much to her chagrin, and especially to that oil 
Madame de Montespan, to manifest his admi- 
ration for Madame de Maintenon, and con- 

278 Louis XIV. [1680. 

Louis's providence for his children. Mademoiselle de Blois. 

stantly to seek her society. Thus the clouds 
of discontent, jealousy, and bitter hostility shed 
their gloom throughout the court. There was 
splendor there, but no happiness. 

It was a good trait in the character of the 
king that he was affectionately attached to all 
of his children. lie provided for them sump- 
tuously, and did every thing in his power to 
provide abundantly for those of dishonorable 
birth. Royal decrees pronounced them legiti- 
mate, and they were honored and courted as 
princes of the blood. 

Mademoiselle de Blois, a daughter of Ma- 
dame de la Yalliere, was one of the most beau- 
tiful and highly accomplished women ever 
seen at the French court. Her mother had 
transmitted to her all her many virtues and 
none of her frailties. Tall and slender, her 
figure was the perfection of grace. A slight- 
ly pensive air enhanced the charms of a coun- 
tenance remarkably lovely, and of a bearing in 
which were combined the highest attractions 
of self-respect and courtly breeding. Her 
voice was music. Her hands and feet were 
finely modeled. Several foreign princes had 
solicited her hand. But the king, her father, 
had invariably declined these offers. He de- 

1680.] Madame de Maintenon. 279 

Marriage of Mademoiselle de Blois. 

clared that the presence of his daughter was 
essential to his happiness — that he could not 
be separated from her. 

In 1680 Mademoiselle de Blois was mar- 
ried to the Prince de Conti, nephew of the 
great Conde. It was as brilliant a marriage 
as exalted rank, gorgeous dresses, superb dia- 
monds, and courtly etiquette could create. 
The king could not have honored the nuptials 
more had he been giving a daughter of the 
queen to the proudest monarch in Europe. 
Her princely dowry was the same as would 
have been conferred on such an occasion. It 
amounted to five hundred thousand golden 
crowns. This was the same sum which the 
Spanish monarchy assigned Maria Theresa 
upon her marriage with the King of France. 

It is difficult to imagine what must have 
been the emotions of Madame de la Valliere 
when she heard, in her narrow cell, the details 
of the brilliant nuptials of her child. Her 
loving heart must have experienced conflicting 
sensations of joy and of anguish. Madame de 
la Valliere had also a son, Count Vermandois. 
He became exceedingly dissipated, so much so 
as to excite the severe displeasure of the king. 
Rumor says that on one occasion he had the 

280 Louis XIV. [1703. 

The man with the iron mask. 

audacity to strike the dauphin. The council 
condemned him to death. Louis XI V., through 
paternal affection, commuted the punishment 
to imprisonment for life. The report was 
spread that he had died of a contagious dis- 
ease, while he was privately conveyed to the 
prison of St. Marguerite, and subsequently to 
the Bastile, his face being ever concealed un- 
der an iron mask. Here he died, it is said, on 
the 19th of November, 1703, after an imprison- 
ment of between thirty and forty years. The 
true explanation of this great historical mys- 
tery will probably now never be ascertained. 

The story of the " Man with the Iron Mask" 
is one of the most remarkable in the annals of 
the past. Probably no information will ever 
be obtained upon this subject more full than 
that which Voltaire has given. He says that 
a prisoner was sent in great secrecy to the cha- 
teau in the island of St. Marguerite ; that he 
was young, tall, and of remarkably graceful 
figure. His face was concealed by an iron 
mask, with coils of steel so arranged that he 
could eat without its removal. Orders were 
given to kill him instantly if he should an- 
nounce who he was. He remained at the cha- 
teau many years in close imprisonment. 

1600.] Madame de Maintenon. 281 

Measures adopted to prevent discovery. 

In 1690, M. St. Mars, governor of the prison 
at St. Marguerite, was transferred to the charge 
of the Bastile in Paris. The prisoner, ever 
masked, was taken with him, and was treated 
on the journey with the highest respect. A 
well-furnished chamber was provided for him 
in that immense chateau. The governor him- 
self brought him his food, and stood respect- 
fully like a servile attendant while he ate. The 
captive was extremely fond of fine linen and 
lace, and was very attentive to his personal ap- 
pearance. Upon His death the walls of his 
chamber were rubbed down and whitewashed. 
Even the tiles of the floor were removed, lest 
he might have concealed a note beneath them. 

It is very remarkable that, while it can not 
be doubted that the prisoner was a person of 
some great importance, no such personage dis- 
appeared from Europe at that time. It is a 
plausible supposition that the king, unwilling 
to consign his own son to death, sent him to 
life-long imprisonment ; and that the report of 
his death by a contagious disease was circu- 
lated that the mother might be saved the an- 
guish of knowing the dreadful fate of her 
child. Still there are many difficulties con- 
nected with this explanation, and there is 

282 Louis XIV. [1680. 

Madame de Montespan and her son. Mary Angelica Roussille. 

none other which has ever satisfied public cu* 

Madame de Montespan had eight children, 
who were placed under the care of Madame 
de Maintenon. Her eldest son, Count de Vix- 
en, died in his eleventh year. Her second son, 
the Duke de Maine, was a lad of remarkable 
character and attainments. He loved Madame 
de Maintenon. He did not love his mother. 
Unfeelingly lie reproached her with his igno- 
ble birth. Madame de Montespan, though still 
a fine-looking woman, brilliant, witty, and al- 
ways conspicuous for the splendor of her ecpii- 
page and her attire, felt every hour embittered 
by the consciousness that her power over the 
king had passed away. She regarded the se- 
rious, thoughtful Madame de Maintenon as her 
successful rival, though her social relations with 
the king were entirely above reproach. 

The character of the discarded favorite is de- 
veloped by the measure she adopted to lure the 
susceptible and unprincipled monarch from the 
very agreeable society of Madame de Main- 
tenon. In the department of Provence there 
was a young lady but eighteen years of age, 
Mary Angelica Roussille. She was of such 
wonderful beauty that its fame had reached 

1680.] Madame de Maintenon. 283 

Intrigue of Madame de Monteepan. 

Paris. Her parents had educated her with the 
one sole object of rendering her as fascinating 
as possible. They wished to secure for her the 
position of a maid of honor to the queen, hop- 
ing that by so doing she would attract the fa- 
vor of the king. Madame de Montespan heard 
of her. She plotted to bring this young and 
extraordinary beauty to the court, that, by her 
personal charms, she might outrival the mental 
and social attractions of Madame de Main- 
tenon. She described her intended protege to 
the king in such enthusiastic strains that his 
curiosity was roused. She was brought to 
court. The monarch, satiated by indulgence, 
oppressed by ennui, ever seeking some new ex- 
citement, was at once won by the charms of the 
beautiful Mary Angelica. She became an ac- 
knowledged favorite. He lavished upon her 
gifts of jewels and of gold, and dignified her 
with the title of the Duchesse de Fontanges. 
The court blazed again with splendor to greet 
the new favorite ; and, let it not be forgotten, 
to meet this royal splendor, millions of peas- 
ants were consigned to hovels, and life -long 
penury and want. 

There was a constant succession of theatric 
shows, ballets, and concerts. Mary Angelica 

284 Louis XIY. [1680. 

Display of the Dnchess de Fontanges. A quarrel. 

was a gay, frivolous, conceited, heartless girl, 
who recklessly squandered the gold so profuse- 
ly poured into her lap. The insolent favorite 
even ventured to treat the queen with disdain, 
assuming the priority. In the streets she made 
a truly regal display in a gorgeous carriage 
drawn by eight cream-colored horses, while the 
clustering ringlets, the floating plumes, and the 
truly radiant beauty of the j?arve?iue duchess 
attracted all eves. If she had ever heard, she 
refused to heed the warning voice of the proph- 
et, saying, "Know thou that for all these things 
God will bring thee into judgment." 

The scheme of Madame de Montespan had 
succeeded far more fully than she had expect- 
ed or desired. The absorption of the king in 
the new-comer was so entire that the discarded 
favorite was tortured with new pangs of jeal- 
ousy and remorse. Implacably she hated the 
Duchess of Fontanges. With her sharp tongue 
she mercilessly cut the luxurious beauty, who 
had intelligence enough to feel the sarcasms 
keenly, but had no ability to retort. A dis- 
graceful quarrel ensued, in which the most vul- 
gar epithets and the grossest witticisms were 
bandied between them. The king himself at 
length found it necessary to interpose. He ap- 

1680.] Madame de Maintenon. 285 

Virtuous endeavors of Madame de Maintenon. 

plied to Madame de Maintenon for counsel 
and aid. She had quietly attended to her du- 
ties, observing all that was passing, hut taking 
no part in these shameful intrigues. Con- 
scious that any attempt to influence Madame 
de Montespan, hardened as she was in her ca- 
reer, would be futile, she ventured to address 
herself to the young and inexperienced Duch- 
ess de Fontanges. Gently she endeavored to 
lead her to some conception of the enormity 
of the life she was leading, and of the inde- 
cency of compromising the king and the court 
by undignified brawls. 

The vain and heartless beauty received her 
counsels with bitter derision and passionate in- 
sult, and attributed every annoyance to which, 
as she averred, she was continually subjected, 
to the jealous envy of those with whose ambi- 
tious views she had interfered ; more than 
hinting that Madame de Maintenon herself 
was among the number. She was, however, 
only answered by a placid smile, and instruct- 
ed to remember that those who sought to share 
her triumphs and her splendor must be con- 
tent at the same time to partake her sin. It 
was a price too heavy to pay even for the 
smiles of a monarch. In vain did the flushed 

286 Louis XIV. [1680. 

Madame de Mainteuon's efforts unsuccessful. 

and furious beauty plead the example of oth- 
ers, higher born and more noble than herself. 
The calm and unmoved monitress instantly 
availed herself of this hollow argument to bid 
her, in her turn, to set an example which the 
noblest and the best-born might be proud to 

" And how can I do this ?" was the sullen 

" By renouncing the society of the king," 
firmly replied Madame de Maintenon. "Ei- 
ther you love him, or you love him not. If 
you love him, you should make an effort to 
save both his honor and your own. If you do 
not love him, it will cost you no effort to with- 
draw from the court. In either case you will 
act wisely and nobly." 

"Would not any one believe who heard 
you," passionately exclaimed the duchess, " that 
it was as easy to leave a king as to throw off a 
glove ?"* 

This was the only reply. The mission of 
Madame de Maintenon had entirely failed. 
The proud, unblushing beauty, whose effront- 
ery passed all bounds, was greatly enraged 
against Madame de Maintenon ; and when she 
* Louis XIV. and the Court of France, 

1684.] Madame de Maintenon. 287 

Sickness and distress of the Duchess de Fontanges. 

perceived that the king was again beginning 
to take refuge in her virtuous society and con- 
versation, she vowed the most signal vengeance. 

But the day of retribution soon came— far 
sooner than could have been expected. The 
guilty and pampered duchess was taken ill — 
hopelessly so, with a sickness that destroyed 
all her beauty. She became sallow, pallid, 
gaunt, emaciate, haggard. The selfish, heart- 
less king wished to see her no more. lie did 
not conceal his repugnance, and quite forsook 
her. The humiliation, distress, and abandon- 
ment of the guilty duchess was more than she 
could bear. She begged permission, either 
sincerely or insincerely, to retire to the con- 
vent of Port Royal. Louis, whose crime was 
far greater than that of his wrecked and ruin- 
ed victim, was glad to be rid of her. But she 
was too far gone, in her rapid illness, to be re- 
moved. It was soon manifest that her life 
was drawing near to its close. She begged to 
see the king once more before she died. 

Louis XIV. dreaded every thing which could 
remind him of that tomb toward which all are 
hastening, and especially did he recoil from 
every death-bed scene. The wretched man 
would not have listened to the plea of the dy- 

288 Lons XIV. [1684 

Death of the Duchess de Pontanges. Mad. de Moutespau rejoices. 

ing girl had not the remonstrances of his con- 
fessor constrained him. Thus, reluctantly, lie 
entered the dying chamber. lie found Mary 
Angelica faded, withered, and ghastly — ali 
unlike the radiant beauty whom for a few 
brief months he had almost worshiped. Ego- 
tist as he was, he could not restrain his tears. 
Her glassy eyes were riveted upon his counte- 
nance. Her clammy hand almost convulsive- 
ly clasped his own. Her livid lips quivered in 
their last effort as she besought him to pay 
her debts, and sometimes to remember her. 
Louis promised all she asked. As she sank 
back upon her pillow, she gasped out the dec- 
laration that she should die happy, as she saw 
that the king could weep for her. Immedi- 
ately after she fell into a swoon and died. 

The exultation of Madame de Montespan 
at her death was so indecent and undisguised 
as to excite the disgust of the king. Her very 
name became hateful to him. Wicked man 
as he was, Louis XIV. believed in Christianity, 
and in its revelations of responsibility at the 
bar of God. He was shocked, and experienced 
much remorse in view of this death-bed with- 
out repentance. He could not conceal from 
himself that l±6 was in no inconsiderable de 

1684.] Madame de Maintenon. 289 

Supremacy of Madame de Maintenon. Pere la Chaise. 

gree responsible for the guilt which burdened 
the soul of the departed. His aversion to Ma- 
dame de Montespan was increased by the re- 
port, then generally circulated, that the duch- 
ess had died from poison, administered through 
her agency. The poor victim of sin and shame 
was soon forgotten in the grave. The court 
whirled on in its usual round of frivolous and 
guilty pleasures, such as Babylon could scarce- 
ly have rivaled. 

The supremacy of Madame de Maintenon 
over Louis XIY. was that of a strong mind 
over a feeble one. The king had many very 
weak points in his character. He was utterly 
selfish, and the slave of his vices. Madame de 
Maintenon, with much address, strove to recall 
him to a better life. In these efforts she was 
much aided by the king's confessor, Pore la 
Chaise. This truly good man reminded the 
king that he had already passed the fortieth 
year of his age, that his youth had gone forev- 
er, that he would soon enter upon the evening 
of his days, and that, as yet, he had done noth- 
ing to secure his eternal salvation. He had 
already received many warnings as he had fol- 
lowed one after another to the grave. The 
king was naturally thoughtful, and perhaps 


290 Louis XIV. [1684. 

Remorse of Louis. Degradation of the people. 

even religiously inclined. Not a few events 
had already occurred calculated to harrow his 
soul with remorse. He had seen his mother 
die, one of the saddest of deaths. He had 
seen his sister Henrietta, his brother's bride, 
whom he had loved with more than a brother's 
love, writhing in death's agonies, the victim of 
poison. He had followed several of his chil- 
dren to the grave. Madame de la Valliere, 
whom he had loved as ardently as he was ca- 
pable of loving any one, now a ruined, heart- 
broken victim of his selfishness and sin, was 
consigned to living burial in the glooms of the 
cloister. He could not banish from his mind 
the dreadful scenes of the death of the Duch- 
ess of Fontanges. 

Just at this time the dauphiness gave birth 
to a son. This advent of an heir to the throne 
caused universal rejoicing throughout the court 
and the nation. It is melancholy to reflect 
that the people, crushed and impoverished as 
they were by the most atrocious despotism, 
were so unintelligent that they regarded their 
oppressors with something of the idolatrous 
homage with which the heathen bow before 
their hideous gods. 

The king himself, at times, manifested a kind 

1684.] Madame de Maintenon. 291 

Birth of the Duke of Burgoyne. Louis taken ill. 

of tender interest in the people, who were so 
mercilessly robbed to maintain the splendor 
of his court and the grandeur of his armies 
Upon the birth of the young prince, who re- 
ceived the title of the Duke of Burgoyne, the 
populace of Paris crowded to Versailles with 
their rude congratulations. Every avenue was 
thronged with the immense multitude. They 
even flooded the palace and poured into the 
saloons. The king, whose heart was softened 
by the birth of a grandson to whom the crown 
might be transmitted, received all very gra- 

The birth of an heir to the crown added 
much to the personal importance of the dau- 
phiness. But, neglected by her husband and 
annoyed by the scenes transpiring around her, 
she was a very unhappy woman. No efforts 
on the part of the court could draw her from 
the silence and gloom of her retirement. Ma- 
dame de Maintenon and the king's confessor, 
Pere la Chaise, were co-operating in the en- 
deavor to lure the king from his life of guilty 
indulgence into the paths of virtue. Fortu- 
nately, at this time the monarch was attacked 
by severe and painful illness. Death was to 
him truly the king of terrors. He was easily 

292 Louis XIV. [16S4 

Dismissal of Mad. de Montespau. Resolves to build a convent. 

influenced to withdraw from his criminal re- 
lations with one whom he had for some time 
been regarding with repugnance. Madame de 
Maintenon was deputed to inform Madame de 
Montespan of the king's determination never 
again to regard her in any other light than that 
of a friend. 

It was a very painful and embarrassing com- 
mission for Madame de Maintenon to fulfill. 
But the will of the king was law. She dis- 
charged the duty with great delicacy and kind- 
ness. Deeply mortified as was the discarded fa- 
vorite, she was not entirely unprepared for the 
announcement. She had for some time been 
painfully aware of her waning influence, and 
had been preparing for herself a retreat where 
she could still enjoy opulence, rank, and power. 

In pursuit of this object, she had determined 
to erect and endow a convent. The sisterhood, 
appointed by her and entirely dependent upon 
her liberality, would treat her with the defer- 
ence due to a queen. The king had lavished 
such enormous sums upon her that she had 
large wealth at her disposal. She had already 
selected a spot for the convent in the Faubourg 
St. Germain, and had commenced rearing the 
edifice. It so happened that the corner-stone 

1684.] Madame de Maintenon. 293 

Her great wealth. The convent of St. Joseph completed. 

was laid at the very moment in which the un- 
happy Duchess de Fontanges was breathing 
her last. Madame de Montespan had no idea 
of taking the veil herself. The glooms of the 
cloister had for her no attractions. Her only 
object was to rear a miniature kingdom, where 
she, having lost the potent charms of youth and 
beauty, could still enjoy an undisputed reign. 

The marchioness already owned a dwelling, 
luxuriously furnished, which the king had pre- 
sented her, in the Hue St. Andre des Arcs. 
Her wealth was so great that, in addition to 
the convent, she also planned erecting for her- 
self a magnificent hotel, in imitation of the pal- 
ace of the Tuileries. The estimated expense 
was equal to the sum of one million five hun- 
dred thousand dollars at the present day. 

The workmen upon the convent were urged 
to the most energetic labor, and the building 
was soon completed. The marchioness gave 
it the name of St. Joseph. One room was 
sumptuously furnished for her private accom- 
modation. She appointed the abbess. The 
great bell of the convent was to ring twenty 
minutes whenever she visited the sisterhood. 
As the founder of the community, she was to 
receive the honors of the incense at high mass 

294 Louis XI Y. [1684. 

The king recovers, arid goes to Flandeis. 

and vespers. The marchioness richly enjoyed 
this adulation, and was a frequent visitor at 
the convent. 

The king, having recovered from his illness, 
decided upon a journey to Flanders. Oppress- 
ed with ennui, he sought amusement for him- 
self and his court. He wished also to impress 
his neighbors by an exhibition of his splendor 
and power. The queen, with the dauphin and 
dauphiness, attended by their several suites, ac- 
companied him on this expedition. Madame 
de Montespan was excessively chagrined in 
finding her name omitted in the list of those 
who were to make up the party. But the name 
of Madame de Maintenon headed the list of 
the attendants of the princess. 

The gorgeous procession, charioted in the 
highest appliances of regal splendor, swept 
along through cities and villages, every where 
received with triumphal arches, the ringing of 
bells, the explosions of artillery, and the blaze 
of illuminations till the sea-port of Dunkirk 
was reached. Here there was a sham -fight 
between two frigates. It was a serene and 
lovelv dav. The members of the roval suite, 
from the deck of a bark sumptuously prepared 
for their accommodation, witnessed with much 

1685.] Madame de Maintenon. 295 

Return to Versailles. Political ambition of Louis XIV. 

delight the novel spectacle. At the close, the 
king repaired to one of the men-of-war, upon 
whose deck a lofty throne was erected, draped 
with a costly awning. Here the splendor-lov- 
ing monarch, surrounded by that ceremonial 
and pageantry which were so dear to him, re- 
ceived the congratulations of the dignitaries of 
his own and other lands upon his recent recov- 
ery from illness. At the end of a month the 
party returned to Versailles. 

Devoted as Louis XIV. was to his own self- 
ish gratification, he was fully aware of the de- 
pendence of that gratification upon the aggran- 
dizement of the realm, which he regarded as 
his private property. Upon this tour of pleas- 
ure he invested the city of Luxembourg with 
an army of thirty thousand men, and took it 
after a siege of eight days. He then overrun 
the Electorate of Treves, demolished all its 
fine fortifications, and by the energies of pil- 
lage, fire, and ruin, rendered it impossible for 
the territory hereafter to render any opposition 
to his arms. The destructive genius of Lou- 
vois had suggested that these unnecessary spo- 
liations would tend to increase the authority 
of his royal master by inspiring a greater ter- 
ror of his power. 

296 Louis XI V. [1685. 

Sickness and death of the queen, Maria Theresa. 

Soon after this, the queen, Maria Theresa, 
was suddenly taken sick. Her indisposition, 
at first slight, rapidly increased in severity, and 
an abscess developed itself under her arm. 
The pain became excruciating. Her physician 
opened a vein and administered an emetic at 
11 o'clock in the morning. It was a fatal pre- 
scription. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon she 
died. As this unhappy queen, so gentle, so 
loving, so forgiving, was sinking away in death, 
she still, with woman's deathless love, cherish- 
ed tenderly in her heart the memory of the 
king. Just as she was breathing her last, she 
drew from her finger a superb ring, which she 
presented to Madame de Maintenon saying, 

"Adieu, my very dear marchioness. To 
you I confide the happiness of the king." 

Maria Theresa was one of the most lovely 
of women. Her conduct was ever irreproach- 
able. Amiable, unselfish, warm-hearted, from 
the time of her marriage she devoted herself 
to the promotion of the happiness of her hus- 
band. His neglect and unfaithfulness caused 
her, in secret, to shed many tears. Xaturally 
diffident, and rendered timid by his undisguised 
indifference, she trembled whenever the king 
approached her. A casual smile from him 

1685.] Madame de Maintenon. 297 

Tribute to her worth. 



filled her with delight. The king could not 
be insensible to her many virtues. Perhaps 
remorse was mingled with the emotions which 
compelled him to weep bitterly over her death. 
As he gazed upon her lifeless remains, he ex- 

"Kind and forbearing friend, this is the 
first sorrow that you have caused me through- 
out twenty years." 

The royal corpse lay in state at Versailles 
for ten days. During this time perpetual 
masses were performed for the soul of the de- 
parted from 7 o'clock in the morning until 
dark. The king had reared the gorgeous pal- 


298 Louis XI Y. [1685. 

Heartlessuess of the king and of the courtiers. 

ace of Versailles that he might not be annoy- 
ed, in his Babylonian revelry, by the sight of 
the towers of St. Denis. But God did not al- 
low the guilty monarch to forget that kings as 
well as peasants were doomed to die. The 
king was compelled to accompany the remains 
of Maria Theresa from the sumptuous palace, 
where she had found so splendid and so un- 
happy a home, to the gloomy vaults of the ab- 
bey, where, in darkness and silence, those re- 
mains were to moulder to dust. 

The queen was forgotten even before she 
was buried. The gay courtiers, anxious to 
banish as speedily as possible from their minds 
all thoughts of death and judgment, sought, in 
songs, and mirth, and wine, to bury even the 
grave in oblivion. The funeral car was deco- 
rated with the most imposing emblems of 
mourning. A numerous train of carriages 
followed, filled with the great officers of the 
crown and with the ladies of the royal house- 
hold. The procession was escorted by a bril- 
liant and numerous body of mounted troops. 

" But nothing could exceed the indecency 
with which the journey was performed. From 
all the carriages issued the sounds of heartless 
jest and still more heartless laughter. The 

1685.] Madame de Maintenon. 299 

Accident. Death of the minister of finance. 

troops had no sooner reached the plain of St. 
Denis than they dispersed in every direction, 
some galloping right and left, and others firing 
at the birds that were flying over their heads."* 

The king, on the day of the funeral, in the 
insane endeavor to obliterate from his mind 
thoughts of death and burial, ordered out the 
hounds and plunged into the excitement of the 
chase. His horse pitched the monarch over 
his head into a ditch of stagnant water, dislo- 
cating one of his shoulders. 

About this time, Jean Baptiste Colbert, the 
king's minister of finance, and probably the 
most extraordinary man of the age, died, worn 
out with toil, anxiety, and grief. Few men 
have ever passed through this world leaving 
behind them such solid results of their labors. 
As minister of finance, he furnished the king 
with all the money he needed for his expensive 
wars and luxurious indulgence. As superin- 
tendent of buildings, arts, and manufactures, 
he enlarged the Tuileries, completed the gor- 
geous palace of Versailles, reared the magnifi- 
cent edifices of the Invalides, Vincennes, and 
Marly, and founded the Gobelins. These and 
many other works of a similar nature he per- 
* Memoirs of Mademoiselle de Montpensier. 

300 Louis XIV. [1684. 

Ingratitude. Remarkable condescension on the part of Louis. 

formed, though constantly struggling against 
the jealousy and intrigues of powerful oppo- 

The king seldom, if ever, manifested any 
gratitude to those who served him. Colbert, 
in the 64th year of his age, exhausted by in- 
cessant labor, and harassed by innumerable an- 
noyances, was on a dying bed. Sad reflections 
seemed to overwhelm him. Not a gleam of 
joy lighted up his fading eye. The heavy tax- 
es he had imposed upon the people rendered 
him unpopular. lie could not be insensible to 
imprecations which threatened to break up his 
funeral and to drag his remains ignominiously 
through the streets. The king condescended, 
as his only act of courtesy, to send a messenger 
to ask tidings of the condition of his minister. 
As the messenger approached the bed, the dy- 
ing sufferer turned away his face, saying, 

M 1 will not hear that man spoken of again. 
If I h'ad done for God what I have done for 
him, I should have been saved ten times over. 
Now I know not what may be my fate." 

The day after his death, without any marks 
of honor, his remains were conveyed, in an or- 
dinary hearse, to the church of St. Eustache. 
^ few of the police alone followed the coffin. 

1684.] Madame de Maintenon. 301 

Genoa assailed. Capture. The Doge humbled. 

Genoa had offended the king by selling 
powder to the Algerines, and some ships to 
Spain. Louis seized, by secret warrant, lettre 
de cachet, the Genoese embassador, and plunged 
him into one of the dungeons of the Bastile. 
He then sent a fleet of over fifty vessels of war 
to chastise, with terrible severity, those who 
had offended him. The ships sailed from 
Toulon on the 6th of May, 1684, and entered 
the harbor of Genoa on the 19th. Immedi- 
ately there was opened upon the city a terrific 
fire. In a few hours fourteen thousand bombs 
were hurled into its dwellings and its streets. 
A large portion of those marble edifices, which 
had given the city the name of Genoa the Su- 
jperb, were crumbled to powder. Fourteen 
thousand soldiers were then disembarked. 
They advanced through the suburbs, burning 
the buildings before them. The whole city 
was threatened with total destruction. The 
authorities, in terror, sent to the conqueror im- 
ploring his clemency. The haughty King of 
France demanded that the Doge of Genoa, 
with four of his principal ministers, should re^ 
pair to the palace of Versailles and humbly 
implore his pardon. The doge, utterly power- 
less, was compelled to submit to the humilia- 
ting terms. 

302 Louis XI Y. [1685. 

Character of Madame de Maintenon. 

Chapter IX. 

The Revocation of the Edict of 


IT is the undisputed testimony of all the con- 
temporaries of Madame de Maintenon that 
she possessed a character of rare excellence. 
Her personal attractions, sound judgment, in- 
stinctive delicacy of perception, and conversa- 
tional brilliance, gave her a certain suprem- 
acy wherever she appeared. The fidelity with 
which she fulfilled her duties, her high relig- 
ious principles, and the bold, yet tender remon- 
strances with which she endeavored to reclaim 
the king from his unworthy life, excited first 
his astonishment, and then his profound admi- 

Every day the king, at three o'clock, proceed- 
ed to the apartments of Madame de Maintenon, 
ind, taking a seat in an arm-chair, sat in a re- 
clining posture, sometimes silently watching 
the progress of her tapestry-work, and again 
engaged in quiet conversation. Occasionally 
some of Racine's tragedies were read. The 

1G85.] Revocation of the Edict. 303 

Depression of the dauphiness. Pere la Chaise. 

king took a listless pleasure in drawing out Ma- 
dame de Maintenon to remark upon the merits 
or defects of the production. 

" In truth, a weariness of existence was rap- 
idly growing upon Louis XIV. He had out- 
lived his loves, his griefs, and almost his ambi- 
tion. All he wanted was repose. And this 
he found in the society of an accomplished, ju- 
dicious, and unassuming woman, who, although 
he occasionally transacted business in her pres- 
ence with Louvois, never presumed to proffer 
an opinion save when he appealed to her judg- 
ment, and even then tendered it with reluct- 
ance and reserve."* 

Upon the death of the queen the dauphi- 
ness was raised to the first rank at court. Still 
she was gloomy and reserved. No allurements 
could draw her from her retirement. Madame 
de Maintenon was a very decided Roman Cath- 
olic, and was very much influenced by the 
king's confessor, Pere la Chaise, who seems to 
have been a man of integrity and of conscien- 
tiousness, though fanatically devoted to what 
he deemed to be the interests of the Church. 
In former reigns the Protestants had endured 

* Louis XIV. and the Court of France, by Miss Pardoe, 
vol. ii., p. 339. 

304 Louis XIV. [1598. 

The Edict of Nantes. 

from the Catholics the most dreadful persecu- 
tions. After scenes of woe, the recital of which 
causes the blood to curdle in one's veins, Hen- 
ry IV., the grandfather of Louis XIV., feeling 
the need of the support of the Protestants to 
protect the kingdom from the perils by which 
it was surrounded, and having himself been 
educated a Protestant, granted the Protestants 
the world-renowned Edict of Xantes. 

By this edict, which took its name from the 
place in which it was published, and which 
was issued in April, 1598, certain privileges 
were granted to the Protestants, which, in that 
dark age, were regarded as extraordinarily lib- 

Protestants were allowed liberty of con- 

science; that is, they were not to be punished 

for their religious faith. In certain designa- 
te O 

ted places they were permitted to hold public 
worship. The highest lords of the Protestant 
faith could celebrate divine service m their 
castles. Xobles of the second rank could have 
private worship provided but thirty persons 
attended. Protestants were declared to be eli- 
gible to offices of state, their children were to 
be admitted to the public schools, their sick to 
the hospitals, and their poor to the public char* 

1685.] Revocation of the Edict. 305 

The Catholic clergy indignant. Ravaillac. 

ities. In certain places they could publish 
books ; they were allowed four academies for 
scientific and theological instruction, and were 
permitted to convoke synods for Church disci- 

The Catholic clergy were very indignant in 
view of these concessions. Pope Clement VIII. 
declared that the ordinance which permitted 
liberty of conscience to every one was the most 
execrable which was ever made.* 

There were then seven hundred and sixty 
churches in France of the Protestant commun- 
ion. No such church was allowed in Paris. 
Protestants from the city, rich and poor, were 
compelled to repair, for public worship, to the 
little village of Ablon, fifteen miles from the 
city. The Edict of Nantes probably cost Hen- 
ry IV. his life. The assassin Pavaillac, who 
plunged his dagger twice into the bosom of the 
king, said, in his examination, 

" I killed the king because, in making war 
upon the pope, he made war upon God, since 
the pope is God." 

The Protestants were thrown into the ut 
most consternation by the death of Henry IV, 

* History of the Protestants of France, by Professor G. de 
Felice, p. 275.. 

306 Louis XIV. [1622. 

Confirmation of the Edict of Nantes. 

They apprehended the immediate repeal of 
the edict, and a renewal of the massacre of St. 
Bartholomew's Day. But the regent, Mary de 
Medici, and the court immediately issued a de- 
cree confirming the ordinance. Louis XIII. 
was then a child but eight and a half years 
of age. As he came into power, he -was urged 
by the Jesuits to exterminate the Protestants. 
But they were too powerful to be wantonly as- 
sailed. They held two hundred fortified places. 
Many of the highest lords were among their 
leaders. Their soldiers were renowned for val- 
or, and their churches numbered four hundred 
thousand men capable of bearing arms. It 
was not deemed safe to rouse such a people to 
the energies of despair. Still, during the reign 
of Louis XIIL, there were many bloody con- 
flicts between the royal troops and the Protest- 

In this religious war, the Protestants, or Hu- 
guenots, as they were then called, defended 
themselves so valiantly, that the king felt con- 
strained, in October, 1622, to relinquish his at- 
tempt to subjugate the Protestants by force of 
arms, and to confirm the Edict of Nantes. 
The sword was scarcely sheathed ere it was 
drawn again. All over France the Catholics 

1662.] Revocation of the Edict. 307 

La Rochelle. Sufferings of the Huguenots. 

and Protestants faced each other upon fields 
of blood* The battle raged for seven years 
with every conceivable concomitant of cruelty 
and horror The eyes of all Europe were di- 
rected to the siege of La Rochelle, in 1627, 
where the Huguenots made their most decisive 
stand. All that human nature could suffer 
was endured. When two thirds of the popu- 
lation of the city had perished, and the streets 
and dwellings were encumbered with the im- 
buried dead, and the remaining soldiers, re- 
duced to skeletons, could no longer lift their 
weapons, the city surrendered on the 28th of 
October, 1628. 

By this war and the fall of La Rochelle, 
the Protestants were hopelessly weakened. 
Though they were deprived of many of their 
privileges, and were greatly diminished in 
numbers and influence, still the general pro- 
visions of the Edict of Nantes were not re- 

In the year 1662, Louis XIV., then upon the 
throne, in recognition of some support which 
he had received from the Protestants, issued a 
decree in which he said, 

" Inasmuch as our subjects of the pretended 
Reformed religion have given us proofs of 

308 Louis XI Y. [1670. 

Policy of Louis. Influence of Madame de Maiutenon. 

their affection and fidelity, be it known that, 
for these reasons, they shall be supported and 
guarded, as in fact we do support and guard 
them, in the full enjoyment of the Edict of 

The king had even appointed, the year be- 
fore, two commissaries, the one a Catholic, the 
other a Protestant, to visit every province, aud 
see that the requisitions of the Edict of Nantes 
were faithfully observed. This seemed very 
fair. But, in appointing these commissioners, 
a Catholic was always appointed who was a 
high dignitary of the state, a man of wealth 
and rank, distinguished for his devotion to the 
interests of the Catholic Church. On the oth- 
er hand, the Protestant was always some poor 
country gentleman, timid and irresolute, and 
often one who had been secretly sold to the 
court to betray his duties. 

The Protestants had hoped much from the 
influence of Madame de Maintenon over the 
king, as she was the granddaughter of Agrip 
pa d'Aubigne, one of the most illustrious dt» 
fenders of the Calvinistic faith, and as she he* 
self had been a Protestant until she had at 
tained the age of sixteen years. 

But the king was fanatically Catholic, hop- 

1680.] Revocation of the Edict. 309 

Religious zeal of the king. False-hearted. 

ing, in some measure, to atone for his sins by 
his supreme devotion to the interests of the 
Church. Madame de Maintenon found it nec- 
essary, in promotion of her ambitious plans, to 
do all in her power to conceal her Protestant 
origin. She was fully aware of the king's 
great dislike to the Protestants, and of the ne- 
cessity of cordially co-operating with him in 
these views. Still she could not refrain from 
manifesting some compassion at times for the 
sufferings of the friends of her earlier years. 
• Louis XIV., while assuring the Protestant 
powers of Europe that he would continue to 
respect the Edict of Nantes, commenced issu- 
ing a series of ordinances in direct opposition 
to that contract. First he excluded Protest- 
ants from all public offices whatever. A Prot- 
estant could not be employed as a physician, 
lawyer, apothecary, bookseller, printer, or even 
as a nurse. This decree was issued in 1680. 
In some portions of the kingdom the Protest- 
ants composed nearly the entire population. 
Here it was impossible to enforce the atrocious 
decree. In other places it led to riots and 

This ordinance was followed by one forbid- 
ding marriages between Catholics and Protest- 

310 Louis XIV. [1680. 

Persecution of the Protestants. 

ants. Catholic servants were forbidden to 
serve in Protestant families, and Protestant 
servants could not be employed by Catholics. 

Rapidly blow followed blow. On the 17th 
of June, 1680, the king issued the following 
ordinance : "We wish that our subjects of the 
pretended Reformed religion, both male and 
female, having attained the age of seven } T ears, 
may, and it is hereby made lawful for them to 
embrace the Catholic Apostolic and Roman 
religion, and that to this effect they be allowed 
to abjure the pretended Reformed religion, 
without their fathers and mothers and other 
kinsmen being allowed to offer them the least 
hinderance, under any pretext whatever." 

The effect of this law was terrible. Any 
malignant person, even a servant, could go into 
a court of justice and testify that a certain 
child had made the sign of the cross, or kissed 
an image of the Virgin, or had expressed a de- 
sire to enter the Catholic Church, and that 
child was immediately taken from its jparents, 
shut up in a convent, and the parents were 
compelled to pay the expenses of its education. 
Even Madame de Maintenon availed herself 
of this law in wresting from her relative, the 
Marquis de Vilette, his children. 

1680.] Revocation of the Edict. 31: 

Severe measures to force proselytism. 

A decree was then issued that all Protest- 
ants who should become Catholics might de- 
fer the payment of their debts for three years, 
and for two years be exempt from taxation, 
and from the burden of having soldiers quar- 
tered upon them. To save the treasury from 
loss, a double burden of taxation and a double 
quartering of soldiers was imposed upon those 
Protestants who refused to abjure their faith. 

If any Protestant was sick, officers were ap- 
pointed whose duty it was to visit the sick-bed, 
and strive to convert the sufferer to the Cath- 
olic faith. Any physician who should neglect 
to give notice of such sickness was punished 
by a severe fine. The pastors were forbidden 
to make any allusions whatever in their ser- 
mons to these decrees of the court. Follow- 
ing this decree came the announcement that 
if any convert from Catholicism should be re- 
ceived into a Protestant Church, his property 
should be confiscated, he should be banished, 
and the privilege of public worship should no 
longer be enjoyed by that Church. Under this 
law several church edifices were utterly demol- 

One of the severest measures adopted against 
the Protestants was quartering brutal and fe 

312 Louis XIV. [1681. 

The dragonnades. Moral suasion of the dragoous. 

rocious soldiers in their families. In March, 
1681, Louvois wrote to the governor of Poitou 
that he intended to send a regiment of cavalry 
into that province. 

"His majesty/' he said/' has learned with 
much satisfaction the great number of persons 
who are becoming converts in your province. 
He desires that you continue to give great care 
to this matter. He thinks it best that the chief 
part of the cavalry and officers should be lodged 
in the houses of the Protestants. If, after a 
just distribution, the Calvinists would have to 
provide for ten soldiers, you can make them 
take twenty." 

The governor, Marillac, lodged from four to 
ten dragoons in the house of every Protestant. 
The soldiers were directed not to kill the peo- 
ple with whom they lodged, but to do every 
thing in their power to constrain them to ab- 
jure Protestantism. Thus originated that sys- 
tem of dragonnades which has left an indeli- 
ble stain upon the character of Louis XIV., 
and the recital of which has inspired every 
reader with horror. 

" The cavalry attached crosses to the muz- 
zles of their muskets to force the Protestants 
to kiss them. When any one resisted, the,y 

1681.] Revocation of the Edict. 313 

Brutality of the soldiery. Enactments of Intolerance. 

thrust these crosses against the face and breasts 
of the unfortunate people. They spared chil- 
dren no more than persons advanced in years. 
Without compassion for their age, they fell 
upon them with blows, and beat them with the 
flat side of their swords and the butt of their 
muskets. They did this so cruelly that some 
were crippled for life."* 

It does not reflect credit upon Madame de 
Maintenon that she was eager to enrich her 
friends from the spoils of these persecuted 
Christians. Her brother was to receive a pres- 
ent of one hundred and eight thousand francs 
($21,600). This sum was then three or four 
times as much as the same amount of money 

A law was now passed prohibiting the Prot- 
estants from leaving the kingdom, and con- 
demning to perpetual imprisonment in the gal- 
leys all who should attempt to escape. France 
was ransacked to find every book written in 
support of Protestantism, that it might be 
burned. A representation having been made 
to the king of the sufferings of more than two 
millions of Protestant Frenchmen, he sternly 

* Histoire de l'Edit de Nantes, t. iv., p. 479. 

314 Louis XIV. [1685. 

Zeal of the king. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes. 

" To bring back all my subjects to Catholic 
unity, I would readily, with one hand, cut off 
the other." 

In some places the Protestants were goaded 
to an appeal to arms. "With the most merci- 
less butchery they were cut down, their houses 
razed, while some were put to death by lin- 
gering torture. In September, 1685, Louvois 

" Sixty thousand conversions have taken 
place in the district of Bordeaux, and twenty 
thousand in that of Montauban. The rapidity 
with which thev go on is such that, before the 
end of the month, there will not remain ten 
thousand Protestants in all the district of Bor- 
deaux, where there were one hundred and fifty 
thousand the 15th of last month." 

The Duke of Koailles wrote to Louvois, 
" The number of Protestants in the district of 
Nismes is about one hundred and forty thou- 
sand. I believe that at the end of the month 
there will be none left." 

On the 18th of October, 1685, the king, ac- 
ceding to the wishes of his confessor and other 
high dignitaries of the Church, signed the Rev* 
ocation of the Edict of Nantes. 

Iii the preamble to this fatal act, ft was stated 

1685.] Revocation of the Edict. 315 

Severe enactments against the Protestants. 

" We see now, with the j ust acknowledgment 
we owe to God, that our measures have secured 
the end which we ourselves proposed, since the 
better and greater part of our subjects of the 
pretended Reformed religion have embraced 
the Catholic faith, and the maintenance of the 
Edict of Nantes remains therefore superfluous." 

In this act of revocation it was declared thai 
the exercise of the Protestant worship should 
nowhere be tolerated in the realm of France. 
All Protestant pastors were ordered to leave 
the kingdom within fifteen days, under pain 
of being sent to the galleys. Those Protestant 
ministers who would abjure their faith and re- 
turn to Catholicism were promised a salary 
one third more than they had previously en- 
joyed. Parents were forbidden to instruct 
their children in the Protestant religion. Ev- 
ery child in the kingdom was to be baptized 
and educated by a Catholic priest. All Prot- 
estants who had left France were ordered to re- 
turn within four months, under penalty of the 
confiscation of their possessions. Any Prot- 
estant layman, man or woman, who should at- 
tempt to emigrate, incurred the penalty of im- 
prisonment for life. 

This infamous ordinance caused an amount 

31G Louis XIY. [1685. 

Flight of the Protestants. Numbers of the emigrants. 

oi misery which can never be gauged, and in- 
flicted upon the prosperity of France the most 
terrible blow it had ever received. Hundreds 
of thousands persevered in their faith, notwith- 
standing all the menaces of poverty, of the dun- 
geon, and of utter temporal ruin. Only one 
year after the revocation, Marshal Yauban 

" France has lost one hundred thousand in- 
habitants, sixty millions of coined mone} T , nine 
thousand sailors, twelve thousand disciplined 
soldiers, six hundred officers, and her most flour- 
ishing manufactures." 

From this hour the fortunes of Louis XIY. 
began manifestly to decline. The Protestant 
population of France at that time was between 
two and three millions. The edict of revoca- 
tion was enforced with the utmost severity. 
Many noble - hearted Catholics sympathized 
with the Protestants in their dreadful suffer- 
ings, and aided them to escape. The tide of 
emigration flowed steadily from all the prov- 
inces. The arrival of the pastors and their 
flocks upon foreign soil created an indescrib- 
able sensation. From all the courts in Prot- 
estant Christendom a cry of indignation rose 
against such cruelty. Though royal guards 

1680.] Revocation of the Edict. 317 

Scenes of suffering. Louis alarmed. 

were posted at the gates of the towns, on the 
bridges, at the fords of the rivers, and upon all 
the by-ways which led to the frontiers, and 
though many thousands were arrested, still 
many thousands escaped. Some heroic bands 
fought their way to the frontiers with drawn 
swords. Some obtained passports from kind- 
hearted Catholic governors. Some bribed their 
guards. Some traveled by night, from cavern 
to cavern, in the garb of merchants, pilgrims, 
venders of rosaries and chaplets, servants, men- 

Thousands perished of cold, hunger, and ex- 
haustion. Thousands were shot by the sol- 
diers. Thousands were seized and condemned 
to the dungeon or the galleys. The galleys of 
Marseilles were crowded with these victims of 
fanatical despotism. Among them were many 
of the most illustrious men in France, magis- 
trates, nobles, scholars of the highest name and 

The agitation and emigration were so im> 
mense that Louis XIV. became alarmed. Prot 
estant England, Switzerland, Holland, Prussia, 
Denmark, Sweden, hospitably received the sui> 
ferers and contributed generously to the sup- 
ply of their wants. "Charity," it is said, 

318 Louis XIV. [1680. 

Historical accounts of the emigration. Multiplied outrages. 

"draws from an exhaustless fountain. The 
more it gives the more it has to give. 5 ' 

It is now not possible to estimate the precise 
number who emigrated. Voltaire says thai 
nearly fifty thousand families left the king 
dom, and that they were followed by a great 
many others. One of the Protestant pastors, 
Antoine Court, placed the number as high as 
eight hundred thousand. A Catholic writer, 
inimical to the Protestants, after carefully con- 
sulting the records, states the emigration at two 

hundred and thirty thousand souls Of these, 

t/ / 

1580 were pastors, 2300 elders, and 15 ; 000 no- 
bles. It is also equally difficult to estimate 
the numbers who perished in the attempt to 
escape. M. de Sismondi thinks that as many 
died as emigrated. He places the number at 
between three and four hundred thousand. 

As we have mentioned, the Protestants were 
compelled to place their children in Catholic 
schools, to be taught the Catechism by the 
priests. A new ordinance was soon issued, 
which required that the children, between five 
and sixteen, of all suspected of Protestantism, 
should be taken from their parents and placed 
in Catholic families. A general search was 
made throughout the kingdom for all books 

1685.] Revocation of the Edict. 319 

Reactions. Secret assemblies. Rage of the Jesuits. 

which could be deemed favorable to the Prot- 
estant faith. These were destroyed to the last 
copy. Thus perished many very valuable 
works. " The Bible itself, the Bible above all, 
was confiscated and burned with persevering 

But there is no power of persecution which 
can utterly crush out two or three millions of 
people. There were occasional reactions. 
Louis XIV. himself became, at times, appalled 
by the atrocities his dragoons were perpetra- 
ting, and he commanded more moderation. 
In some of the provinces where the Protest- 
ants had been greatly in the majority, the king 
found it very difficult to enforce his despotic 
and sanguinary code. The persecuted people 
f?ho could not fly from the kingdom, some 
having given a compulsory and nominal assent 
to Catholicism, held secret assemblies in for- 
ests, on mountain summits, and in wild ravines. 
Some of the pastors ventured to return to 
France, and to assist in these scenes of peril- 
ous worship. 

" On hearing this, the king, his ministers, 
and the Jesuits were transported with uncon- 
trollable rage. Sentence of death was pro- 
* Hist, of the Protestants of France, by Prof. G. De Felice. 

320 Louis XI Y. [1686. 

New measures of the court. 

nounced in the month of July, 1686, against 
the pastors who had returned to France. 
Those who lent them an asylum, or any assist- 
ance whatever, were condemned to the galleys 
for life. A reward of five thousand five hun- 
dred livres was promised to any one who seized 
or secured the seizure of a minister. The sen- 
tence of death was pronounced against all who 
should be taken in any of these religious as- 

Soldiers were sent in all directions to hunt 
the Protestants. " It was," writes Voltaire, " a 
chase in a grand cover." If the voice of pray- 
er or of a psalm were heard in any wild re- 
treat, the soldiers opened fire upon the assem- 
bly of men, women, and children, and hewed 
them down without mercy with their blood 
stained swords. In several of these encoun- 
ters, three or four hundred men, women, and 
young children were left dead and unburied 
upon the spot. 

If any sick persons, apparently near death, 
refused to receive the sacraments of the Cath- 
olic Church from the hands of a Catholic 
priest, should they recover, they were punished 
with confiscation of property and consignment 
* M. G. De Felice. 

1686.J Revocation of the Edict. 321 

Remonstrances of honorable Catholics. 

to the galleys for life. If they did not recov- 
er, their bodies were refused respectful burial, 
and were dragged on a hurdle and thrown into 
a ditch, to be devoured by carrion crows. 

Many honorable Catholics cried out with 
horror against these enormities. All humane 
hearts revolted against such crueltv. The 
voice of indignant remonstrance rose from ev- 
ery Protestant nation. The French court be- 
came embarrassed. Two millions of people 
could not be put to death. The prisons were 
filled to suffocation. The galleys were crowd- 
ed, and could receive no more. Many were 
transported to America. 

The Jansenists remonstrated. The good 
Catholic bishops of Grenoble and St. Poins 
boldly addressed the curates of their dioceses, 
directing them not to force communion upon 
the Protestants, and forbidding all violence. 
Many pious curates refused to act the part of 
accusers, or to torment the dying with their 
importunities. But the Jesuits and the great 
mass of the clergy urged on the persecution. 

Madame de Maintenon became greatly 

troubled by these atrocities, against which she 

did not dare to remonstrate. Louis XIV. was 

somewhat alarmed by the outcry which these 

322 Louis XIV. [1662. 

Inirigues of the king. Madame de Montespan to be removed. 

measures aroused from Protestant Europe, but 
his pride revolted against making the admis- 
sion, before his subjects and foreign courts, 
that he could have been guilty of a mistake. 
He could not endure the thought of humbling 
himself by a retraction, thus confessing that 
he had failed in an enterprise upon which he 
had entered with such determination. Thus 
influenced, the king, on the 13th of April, 1662, 
issued a decree solemnly confirming the revo- 
cation of the Edict of Nantes. " Not one law 
of torture and blood was abolished." 

The king, meanwhile, urged by his growing 
passion for Madame de Maintenon, determined 
to remove from court Madame de Montespan, 
whom he had come to thoroughly dislike. But 
he had not the courage to announce his deter- 
mination in person. He therefore commission- 
ed Madame de Maintenon to make the painful 
communication. She, shrinking from so un- 
welcome a task, persuaded the Marquis de Vi^ 
vonne, brother of the marchioness, to break the 
tidings to his sister. He invited her to take a 
ride with him in his carriage, gradually intro 
duced the subject, and at last plainly informed 
her that she must either, of her own accord, 
immediately and forever retire from Versailles, 

1685.] Revocation of the Edict. 323 

Banishment of Madame de Montespan. 

or submit to the indignity of being arrested by 
the police and removed by them. 

Madame de Montespan was in a fearful rage. 
Though fully aware of her waning power over 
the king, the menace of arrest and banishment 
was an indignity the thought of which had 
never entered her mind. But the calm firm- 
ness of her brother soon convinced her of the 
impotence of all exhibitions of indignation. 
The splendor -loving marchioness was, as we 
have mentioned already, wealthy. She was, 
however, informed that the king had decided 
to settle upon her an annual pension of six hun- 
dred thousand livres. When we consider the 
comparative value of money then and now, it 
is estimated that this amount was equivalent 
co about four hundred and eighty thousand 
dollars at the present day. 

" Madame de Montespan," writes Miss Par- 
doe, " buried her face in her hands, and re- 
mained for a considerable time lost in thought. 
When, at length, she looked up, her lips were 
pale and her voice trembled. She had not shed 
a tear, but her breast heaved, and she had evi- 
dently come to a decision. Folding her shawl 
about her, she requested the marquis immedi- 
ately to drive her to Versailles, it being neces 


Louis XIV. 


Parterre of Versailles. 

A successful mission. 

sary, as she asserted, that she should collect her 
money, her jewels, and her papers, after which 
she declared that she was ready, for the sake 
of her family, to follow his advice." 


They returned to the palace. Madame de 
Maintenon hastened to her apartments. The 
Marquis de Vivonne informed her of the suc- 
cess of his mission, and she communicated the 
intelligence to the king. 

The marchioness had been in her apartments 
but about twenty minutes, when, to her sur- 
prise, the door opened, and the king entered 
unannounced. The marchioness, with her own 
graphic pen, has given an account of the sin- 

1685.] Revocation of the Edict. 325 

Egotism and heartlessness of the king. 

gular and characteristic interview which en- 

The king came forward smiling very com- 
placently at the thought that with so little em- 
barrassment he was to get rid of a companion 
whose presence had become an annoyance to 
him — that he could discard her as easily as he 
could lay aside a pair of soiled gloves. He 
congratulated the marchioness upon the gre^t 
good sense she had shown in thus readily sun- 
dering ties which, after existing for eighteen 
years, had become embarrassing. He spoke of 
their children as his property, and assured her 
that he should do all in his power to promote 
their welfare ; that he had alread} T , by act of 
Parliament, conferred upon them statute legiti- 
macy, and had thus effaced the dishonor of 
their birth. He apologized for not having her 
name mentioned in Parliament as their moth- 
er, this being impracticable, since she was the 
wife of another man. 

With smiling complacency, as if he were 
communicating very gratifying intelligence, he 
informed this crushed and discarded mother 
that, since her children were now princes, they 
would, of course, reside at court, and that she, 
their dishonored mother, might occasionally be 

326 Louis XI Y. [1685. 

Singular interview. 

permitted to visit them — that he would issue 
an order to that effect. And, finally, he coolly 
advised her to write to her husband, whom she 
had abandoned eighteen years ago, soliciting a 
renewal of their relationship, with the assur- 
ance that it was her intention to return to the 
paths of virtue. 

Almost gasping with indignation, the haugh- 
ty marchioness succeeded in restraining herself 
until the king had finished his harangue. She 
then burst forth in a reply which astonished 
and even alarmed the king. 

" I am amazed," said she, " at the indiffer- 
ence with which a monarch, who boasts of his 
magnanimity, can throw from him a woman 
who has sacrificed every thing to his pleasure. 
For two years your majesty, in devotion to 
others, has been estranged from me, and yet 
never have I publicly offered one word of ex- 
postulation. Why is it, then, that I am now, 
after silently submitting for two years to this 
estrangement, to be ignominionsly banished 
from the court? Still, my position here has 
become so hateful, through the perfidy and 
treachery of those by whom I am compelled to 
associate, that I will willingly consent never 
again to approach the person of the king upon 

1686.] Revocation of the Edict. 327 

The king defends Madame de Mainteuon's character. 

condition that the odious woman who has sup- 
planted me* shall also be exiled." 

The proud monarch was enraged. Pale 
with anger, he replied, " The kings of Europe 
have never yet ventured to dictate laws in my 
palace, nor shall you, madame, subject me to 
yours. The lady whom I have too long suf- 
fered you to offend is as nobly born as your- 
self. If you were instrumental in opening the 
gates of the palace to her, you thus introduced 
there gentleness, talent, and virtue. This lady, 
whom you have upon every occasion slandered, 
has lost no opportunity to excuse and justify 
you. She will remain near the court which 
her fathers defended, and which her wise 
councils now strengthen. In seeking to re- 
move you from the court, where your presence 
and pretensions have long since been mis- 
placed, I wished to spare you the evidence of 
an event calculated to irritate your already ex- 
asperated nature. But stay you here, ma- 
dame," he added, sarcastically, " stay you here, 
since you love great catastrophes and are 
amused by them. Day after to-morrow you 
will be more than ever a supernumerary in 
the palace." 

* Madame de Maintenon. 

328 Louis XIV. [1686. 

Scene of frenzy and despair. 

This heartless announcement, that Madame 
de Maintenon was to take the place of Ma- 
dame de Montespan in the affections of the 
king, and probably as his wedded wife, pierced, 
as with a daggers point, the heart of the dis- 
carded favorite. She fell senseless to the floor. 
The king, without the slightest exhibition of 
sympathy, looked on impatiently, while her 
women, who were immediately summoned, en- 
deavored to restore consciousness. As the un- 
happy marchioness revived, the first words 
which fell upon her ears were from the king, 
as he said, 

" All this wearies me beyond endurance 
She must leave the palace this verv da v." 

In a frenzy of rage and despair, the mar- 
chioness seized a dessert-knife which chanced 
to lay upon the table, and, springing from the 
arms of her attendants, rushed upon her young- 
est child, the little Count de Toulouse, whom 
the king held by the hand, and from whom 
she was to be cruelly severed, and endeavored 
to plunge the knife into his bosom, exclaiming, 

" Yes, I will leave this palace, but first — M 

At that moment, before the sentence was 
finished, the door opened, and Madame de 
Maintenon, who had probably anticipated some 

1686.] Revocation of tiie Edict. 320 

Madame de Maintenon and Madame de Montespan. 

tragic scene, sprang upon the wretched wom- 
an, seizing the knife with one hand, and with 
the other thrusting the child away. The ma- 
niacal marchioness was seized by her attend- 
ants. The king tottered to the chimney-piece, 
buried his face in his hands, and, from a com- 
plicity of emotions not easily disentangled, 
wept convulsively. 

Madame de Main tenon's hand was cut by 
the knife. As she was binding up the bleed- 
ing wound with her handkerchief, the half-de- 
lirious marchioness said to her, referring to the 
fact that the king had at first been unwilling 
to receive her as the guardian of the children, 

" Ah ! madame, had I believed what the king 
told me fourteen years ago, my life would not 
have been in your power to-day." 

Madame de Maintenon, her eyes suffused 
with tears, looked sadly upon her, then taking 
her hand, pressed it feelingly, and, without ut- 
tering a word, left the apartment. The king 
followed her. The heart-broken marchioness, 
in most imploring tones, entreated the king 
not thus to leave her. lie paid no heed to her 
supplications. The agitation of this scene 
threw Madame de Montespan into such a 
burning fever that for several days she could 
not be removed from her bed of pain and woe. 

330 Louis XIV. [1685. 

Temptation resisted. Rumors of marriage. 

Chapter X. 
The Secret Marriage. 

THE king exerted all his powers of persua- 
sion to induce Madame de Maintenon to 
enter into the same relations with him which 
Madame de Montespan had occupied. At last 
she declared, in reply to some passionate re- 
proaches on his part, that she should be under 
the necessity of withdrawing from the court 
and retiring to the cloister, rather than con- 
tinue to expose herself to a temptation which 
was destroying her peace of mind and under- 
mining her health. Under these circumstances 
the king had been led to think of a private 
marriage. At first his pride revolted from the 
thought. But in no other way could he secure 
Madame de Maintenon. 

Humors of the approaching marriage were 
circulated through the court. The dauphin 
expostulated with his father most earnestly 
against it, and succeeded in inducing the king 
to consult the Abbe Fenelon and Louvois. 
They both protested against the measure as 

1686.] The Secret Marriage. 331 

Preparatxons for the marriage. The archbishop summoued. 

compromising the dignity of the monarch and 
the interests of the nation. Bossuet, however, 
urged the marriage. Boldly he warned the 
king against entering again into such connec- 
tions as those which had hitherto sullied his 
life, wounded his reputation, and endangered 
his eternal welfare. 

Pure as Madame de Maintenon was, the de- 
votion of the king to her was so marked that 
her reputation began to suffer. She felt the 
unjust imputations cast upon her very keenly. 
The king at last resolved that it should be so 
no longer. Having come to a decision, he act- 
ed very promptly. It was a cold night in Jan- 
uary, 1686. A smothering snow-storm swept 
the streets of Paris. * At half past ten o'clock 
a court messenger entered the archiepiscopal 
palace with a sealed packet, requesting the 
archbishop to repair immediately to Versailles 
to perform the marriage ceremony. The great 
clock of the Cathedral was tolling the hour of 
eleven as the prelate entered his carriage in the 
darkness and the storm. At half past twelve 
he reached the gate of the chateau. Here Bon- 
terns, the first valet de chambre of the king, 
conducted the archbishop to the private closet 
of his majesty. Madame de Maintenon was 

332 Louis XIV. [1686. 

An extraordinary scene. 

there in full dress. Louis XIV. stood by her 
side. In the same apartment were the Mar- 
quis de Montechevreuil and the king's confess- 
or, Pere la Chaise. 

Miss Pardoe thus describes the scene that 
ensued : 

"As the eye of the king rested upon the 
archbishop, he exclaimed, f Let us go.' Tak- 
ing the hand of the lady, he led her forward 
through the long suite of rooms, followed by 
the other actors in this extraordinary scene, 
who moved on in profound silence, thrown for 
an instant into broad light by the torch carried 
by Bontems, and then suddenly lost in the deep 
darkness beyond its influence. Nothing was 
to be heard as the bridal party proceeded save 
the muffled sound of their footsteps, deadened 
by the costly carpets over which they trod. But 
it was remarked that as the light flashed for 
an instant across the portraits of his family 
which clothed the walls, Louis XIY. glanced 
eagerly and somewhat nervously upon them, 
as though he dreaded the rebuke of some stern 
eye or haughty lip for the weakness of which 
he was abortt to become guilty." 

The marriage ceremony was performed by 
the Archbishop of Paris. There were eight 

1686.] The Secret Marriage. 333 

Ceremonies. The Widow Scarron. Etiquette. 

persons present as witnesses, most of them of 
high distinction. The king was in the forty- 
eighth year of his age, and Madame de Main- 
tenon in her fifty-second. The marriage was 
celebrated with all the established ceremonies 
of the Church, the solemnization of the mass, 
the exchange of marriage rings, and the pro- 
nouncing of the benediction by the archbishop. 
A magnificent suite of apartments was pre- 
pared for Madame de Maintenon at Versailles. 
She retained her own liveries, but thencefor- 
ward appeared in public only in the carriage 
of the king. Though by her own private at- 
tendants she was addressed as " your majesty," 
she was never publicly recognized as the queen. 
The king addressed her simply as Madame. 

Though the morning after the nuptials the 
astounding rumor spread through the court 
that the king had actually married the Widow 
Scarron, still there were no positive vouchers 
found for the fact. As she was never recog- 
nized as the queen, for a long time many doubts 
rested upon the reality of the marriage. 

It was a matter of necessity that Madame de 
Montespan should call upon Madame de Main- 
tenon, and pay her respects to her as the real 
though unrecognized wife of the monarch. 

334 Louis XIV. [168t 

Humiliation of Madame de Monteepan. 

Dressed in her richest robes, and glittering with 
jewels, the discarded favorite entered the apart- 
ment of her hated rival. The king was seated 
by her side. His majesty rose, bowed formal- 
lv, and took his seat. Madame de Maintenon 
did not rise, but, with a slight flush upon her 
cheek, motioned to Madame de Montespan to 
take a seat upon a tabouret which stood near 
by. The king scarcely noticed her. Madame 
de Maintenon addressed her in a few words of 
condescension. The unhappy visitor, after a 
short struggle to regain her composure, rose 
from the humble stool upon which she had 
been seated, and, repeating the stately rever- 
ences which etiquette requited, withdrew from 
the room. 

With crushed heart she retired to her apart- 
ment, and, weeping bitterly, threw herself upon 
a sofa. She soon sent for her son, the Duke 
du Maine, hoping to hear, from his lips at least, 
words of sympathy. But the duke, who had 
reproached his mother with his dishonorable 
birth, and who, by a royal decree, had been rec- 
ognized as a prince, was not at all disposed to 
cultivate intimate relations with that mother, 
now that the memory of disgrace only would 
be perpetuated by that recognition. Without 

1686.] The Secret Marriage. 335 

Routine of a clay at Versailles. 

the exhibition of the slightest emotion, the 
duke addressed his mother in a few cold, form- 
al words, and left her. The marchioness sum- 
moned her carriage, and left Versailles and the 
court forever. As she cast a last look upon 
the palace, she saw the king standing at the 
balcony of a window watching her departure. 

The reader will be interested in learning the 
routine of a day as passed by this most sumpt- 
uous of earthly kings amidst the splendors of 
Versailles. At eight o'clock in the morning 
the under valets carefully entered the bed- 
chamber, opened the shutters, replenished the 
wood lire, if cold, and removed the ample re- 
freshments which were always placed by the 
royal bedside in case the king should need food 
during the night. 

The first valet then entered, carefully dress- 
ed, and took his stand respectfully by the side 
of the bed-curtains. At half past eight pre- 
ciselv he drew the curtains and awoke the 
king, assuming always that he was asleep. The 
valet then immediately retired to an adjoining 
room, where several distinguished members of 
the court were in waiting, and communicated 
to them the important intelligence lhat the 
king no longer slept. 

336 Louis XI V. [1636. 

Routine of a day at Versailles. 

The folding doors were thrown open, and 
the dauphin, attended by his two sons, the eld- 
est of whom was entitled Monsieur, and the 
youngest the Duke of Chartres, entered, and 
inquired of the king how he had passed the 
night. They were immediately followed by 
the Duke du Maine and the Count de Tou- 
louse, sons of Madame de Montespan, and by 
the first lord of the bedchamber and the grand 
master of the robes. They were succeeded by 
the first valet of the wardrobe, and by several 
officers, each bearing a portion of the royal 
vestments. The two medical attendants of the 
king, the physician and surgeon, also entered 
at the same time. 

The king, still remaining pillowed in his gor- 
geous bed, held out his hands, and his first val- 
et de chambre poured upon them a few drops 
of spirits of wine, holding beneath them a basin 
of silver. The first lord of the bedchamber 
presented a vase of holy water, with which the 
king made the sign of the cross upon his brow 
and breast. His majesty then repeated a short 
prayer. A collection of wigs was presented to 
him. He selected the one which he wished to 
wear. As the king rose from his couch, the 
first lord of the bedchamber drew upon him 

1686.] The Secret Marriage. 337 

Routine of a day at Versailles. The First Entree. 

his dressing-gown, which was always a richly 
embroidered and costly robe. 

The king then sat down, and, holding out 
one sacred foot after the other, his valet, Bon- 
tems, drew on his stockings and his slippers of 
embroidered velvet. The monarch conde- 
scended to place upon his head, with his own 
hand, the wig which he had selected. Again 
the devout monarch crossed himself with holy 
water, and, emerging from the balustrade 
which inclosed the bed, seated himself in a 
large arm-cha'?\ lie w T as now prepared for 
what was called The First Entree. 

The chief lord of the bedchamber, with a 
loud voice, announced The First Entree. A 
number of courtiers, who were peculiarly fa- 
vored, were then admitted to the distinguished 
honor of seeing his majesty washed and shaved. 
The barber of the king removed his beard and 
gently washed his face with a sponge saturated 
with spirits of wine and water. The king 
himself wiped his face with a soft towel, while 
Bontems held the glass before him. 

And now the master of the robes approach- 
ed to dress the king. Those who had been 
present at what was called the petit lever re- 
tired. A new set of dignitaries, of higher 

338 Louis XIV. [16S6. 

The ceremony of dressing. The Grand Entree. 

name and note, crowded the anteroom to en- 
joy the signal honor of being present at the 
Grand Entree, that is, of witnessing the sub- 
lime ceremony of seeing shirt, trowsers, and 
frock placed upon his sacred majesty. 

Three of the highest officers of the court 
stood at the door, attended by several valets and 
door keepers of the cabinet. Admission to the 
Grand Entree was considered so great an honor 
that even princes sought it, and often in vain. 

As each individual presented himself, his 
name was whispered to the first lord of the 
bedchamber, who repeated it to the king. 
When the monarch made no reply the visitor 
was admitted, and the duke walked back to 
his station near the fireplace, where he mar- 
shaled the new-comers to their several places 
in order to prevent their pressing too closely 
about his majesty. Princes and governors, 
marshals and peers, were alike subjected to 
this tedious and somewhat humiliating ceremo- 
ny, from which three individuals alone were 
excepted, Racine, Boileau, and Mansard. On 
their arrival at the guarded door they simply 
scratched against the panel, when the usher 
threw open the folding door, and they stood in 
the presence of the monarch. 


1686.] The Secret Marriage. 341 

Dressing the king. The royal breakfast. 

In the mean time, a valet of the wardrobe 
delivered to a gentleman of the chamber the 
socks and garters, which the gentleman pre- 
sented to the monarch, and which socks his 
majesty deigned to draw on himself. Even 
with his own hand he clasped the garters with 
their diamond buckles. Etiquette did not al- 
low the king to unclasp them at night. The 
head valet de chambre enjoyed the privilege 
of unclasping the garter of the right leg, while 
a more humble attendant performed the same 
office for the left les*. 

A distinguished officer of the household pre- 
sented the monarch with his haut de chausses 
(breeches), to which silk stockings were attach- 
ed ; the king drew them on ; another gentle- 
man put on his shoes ; another gentleman 
buckled them. Two pages, richly dressed in 
crimson velvet embroidered with gold, removed 
the slippers which the king had laid aside. 

And now came the royal breakfast. Two 
officers of the household entered, in pictur- 
esque attire, one bearing a loaf of bread on an 
enameled salver, and another a folded napkin 
between two enameled plates. The royal cup- 
bearer handed a golden vase, richly decorated, 
to one of the lords. He poured into it a small 

342 Louis XIV. [1686. 

Formalities. Dressing the king. 

quantity of wine and water. Another lord 
tasted of it, to prove that it contained no poi* 
son. The vase was then carefully rinsed, and 
being again filled with the wine and water, 
was presented to the king on a gold salver. 

His majesty drank. Then the dauphin, who 
was always present at these solemnities, hand- 
ed his hat and gloves to the first lord in wait- 
ing, and presented the monarch with a napkin 
with which to wipe his lips. Breakfast was a 
very frugal repast. Having partaken of these 
slight refreshments, the king laid aside his 
dressing-gown. One of his lordly attendants 
then assisted him in removing his night-shirt 
by the left sleeve. It was Bontems's peculiar 
privilege to draw it off by the right sleeve. 

The royal shirt, which had been carefully 
warmed, was then given to the first lord. He 
presented it to the dauphin, who approached 
and presented it to the king. Some one of the 
higher lords, previously designated for the 
honor, assisted the king in the arrangement of 
his shirt and breeches. A duke enjoyed the 
honor of putting on his inner waistcoat. Two 
valets presented the king with his sword, vest, 
and blue ribbon. A nobleman then stepped 
forward and buckled on the sword, assisted in 

1686.] The Secret Marriaoe. 343 

The dressing completed. The king prays. 

putting on the vest, and placed over his shoul- 
ders a scarf bearing the cross of the Holy 
Ghost in diamonds, and the cross of St. Louis. 

The king then drew on his under coat, with 
the assistance of the grand master of the robes, 
adjusted his cravat of rich lace, which was 
folded round his neck by a favorite courtier, 
and finally emptied into the pockets of the 
loose outer coat, which was presented to him 
for that purpose, the contents of those which 
he had worn the previous day. He then re- 
ceived two handkerchiefs of costly point from 
another attendant, by whom they were carried 
on an enameled saucer of oval shape called 
salve. His toilet once completed, Louis XIY. 
returned to the ruelle of his bed, where he 
knelt down upon two cushions already pre- 
pared for him, and said his prayers ; all the 
bishops and cardinals entering within the bal- 
ustrade in his suite, and reciting their devo- 
tional exercises in a suppressed voice. 

The king, being thus dressed, retired from 
his chamber to his cabinet. He was followed, 
in solemn procession, by all those dignitaries 
of Church and State who had enjoyed the priv- 
ilege of the Grand Entree. He then issued 
the orders of the day, after which all withdrew 

SU Louis XI Y. [1686. 

The king attends mass. Etiquette at the royal dinner. 

excepting some of his children, whom a royal 
decree had legitimatized and raised to the rank 
of princes, with their former tutors or govern- 

In the mean time a crowd of courtiers were 
assembled in the great gallery of Versailles, 
to accompany the king to mass. The captain 
of the royal guard awaited orders at the door 
of the cabinet. At 12 o'clock the door was 
thrown open, and the king, followed by a 
splendid retinue, proceeded to the chapel. 

The service was short. At one o'clock the 
king returned to his room, and dined sumptu- 
ously and alone. lie was waited upon, at the 
table, by the first gentleman of the chamber. 
Sometimes the dauphin or other lords of high- 
est rank were present, but they stood respect- 
fully at a distance. Xo one was permitted to 
be seated in the royal presence. The brother 
of the king stood at times by the chair of his 
majesty, holding his napkin for him. Upon 
the king's twice requesting him to be seated, 
he was permitted to take a seat upon a stool, 
behind the king, still holding his napkin. 

Upon rising from the table the king repair- 
ed to the grand saloon, wnere he tarried for a 
few moments, that persons of high distinction, 

1686.] The Secret Marriage. 345 

Visits the kenneL The rooming drive. 

who enjoyed the privilege of addressing him, 
might have an opportunity to do so. He then 
returned to his cabinet The door was closed, 
and the king had a brief interview with his 
children, of whom he was very fond. He then 
repaired to the kennel of his dogs, of whom he 
was also fond, and amused himself, for a time, 
in feeding them and playing with them. 

He now made some slight change in his 
dress. A small number of persons, of high 
rank, enjoyed the distinguished honor of being 
present in his chamber as the monarch, with 
all suitable stateliness of ceremony, exchanged 
one royal garment for another. The carriage 
awaited the king in the marble court. He de- 
scended by a private staircase. His craving 
for fresh air w r as such that he took a drive 
whatever the weather. Scarcely any degree of 
heat or cold, or floods of rain, could prevent him 
from his drive, or his stag-hunt, or his over- 
looking the workmen. Sometimes the ladies 
of his court rode out with him on picnic excur- 
sions to the forests of Fontainebleau or Marly. 

Upon returning from the drive, the king 
again changed his dress and repaired to his 
cabinet. He then proceeded to the apartments 
of Madame de Maintenon, where he remained 

346 Louis XIV. [1686. 

The royal supper. Tasting and trying. 

conversing with her, or reading, and sometimes 
transacting business with his minister, until ten 
o'clock. The hour for supper had now arrived. 
The house-steward, with his badge of office in 
hand, gave the information to the captain of 
the guard. He, entering the royal presence 
from the antechamber, announced the fact to 
die king > and opened wide the door. After the 
delay of a quarter of an hour, which etiquette 
required, his majesty advanced to the supper- 
room. During the quarter of an hour which 
had elapsed, the officers of the household had 
made preparations for the royal repast by tast- 
ing the bread and the salt, and by testing the 
plates, the fork, the spoon, the knife, and the 
tooth-pick of the king, so as to be assured that 
no poison could be thus conveyed. 

As the king, preceded by the house-steward 
and two ushers with flambeaux, entered the 
supper-room, he found there awaiting him the 
princes and princesses of France, with a nu- 
merous assemblage of courtiers, gentlemen, and 
ladies. The king, having taken his seat, re- 
quested the others to be seated also. Six no- 
blemen immediately stationed themselves at 
each end of the table, to wait upon the king. 
Each one, as lie presented a dish to the king, 

1686.] The Secret Marriage. 347 

" Drink for the king I" He feeds his dogs at midnight. 

first tasted of it himself. "When the king wish 
ed for a drink, his cup-bearer exclaimed aloud, 
" Drink for the king." Two of the principal of- 
ficers, making a profound obeisance, approach- 
ed his majesty, one bearing an enameled cup 
and two decanters upon a salver. The other 
poured out the wine, tasted it, and presented 
the goblet to the king. With another low sal- 
utation, the two officers replaced the decanters 
upon the sideboard. 

The repast being finished, the king rose, and, 
preceded by two guards and an usher, and fol- 
lowed by all the company, proceeded to the 
bed-chamber. He there bowed adieu to the 
company, and, entering the cabinet, took a seat 
in a large arm-chair. The members of the 
royal family were introduced. His brother, 
Monsieur, was permitted to take an arm-chair. 
All the rest remained standing except the prin- 
cesses, who were indulged with stools. After 
an hour or so of such converse as these stately 
forms would admit, the king, about midnight, 
went again to feed his dogs. He then retired 
to his chamber, with great pomp said his pray- 
ers, and was undressed and put to bed with 
ceremonies similar to those with which he had 
been dressed in the morning. 

348 Louis XIV. [1686. 

Madame de Maintenon's apartments. Her tact. 

Such was the ordinary routine of the life of 
the king at Versailles. Its dreary monotony 
was broken by occasional fetes, balls, and the- 
atric shows. Madame de Maintenon testifies 
to the almost insupportable tedium of such a 
life. " If you could only," she exclaims, " form 
an idea of what it is !" 

Magnificent apartments were prepared for 
Madame de Maintenon at Versailles, opposite 
the suite of rooms occupied by the king. Sim- 
ilar arrangements were made for her in all the 
royal palaces. Royalty alone could occupy 
arm-chairs in the presence of the sovereign. 
In each of her apartments there were two such, 
one for the king and the other for herself. The 
king often transacted business with his minis- 
ter, Louvois, in her room. She had sufficient 
tact never to express an opinion, or to take a 
part in the conversation except when appealed 

Madame de Maintenon was exceedingly anx- 
ious that the king should publicly recognize 
her as his wife. It is said that the king, tor- 
mented by the embarrassments which the se- 
cret marriage had brought upon him, seriously 
contemplated this. His minister, Louvois, re- 
monstrated even passionately against such a 

1689.] The Secret Marriage. 349 

Sickness of the king. A surgical operation necessary. 

recognition. At the close of a painful inter- 
view upon this subject, he threw himself upon 
his knees before his majesty, and, presenting to 
him the hilt of a small sword which the minis- 
ter usually wore, exclaimed, 

" Take my life, sire, that I may not become 
the witness of a disgrace which will dishonor 
your majesty in the eyes of all Europe." 

Others of the most influential members of 
the court joined in the opposition, and so stren- 
uously that the king commanded Madame de 
Maintenon never again to allude to the subject. 

Premature old age was fast advancing upon 
the king, though he had as yet attained only 
his forty-ninth year. lie was tortured by the 
gout. lie was also attacked by a very painful 
and dangerous internal malady. His suffer- 
ings were dreadful. It became necessary for 
him to submit to a perilous surgical operation. 
The king met the crisis with much heroism. 
Four persons only, including Madame de Main- 
tenon, were present during the operation. In- 
deed, the greatest precautions had been adopt- 
ed to keep the fact that an operation was to be 
performed a profound secret. During the op- 
eration the king uttered not a groan. It was 
successful. In gratitude he conferred upon 

350 Louis XIV. [16S9. 

World-weariuess of the king. Dissatisfied with Versailles. 

the skillful operator who had relieved him 
from anguish and saved his life an estate val- 
ued at more than fifty thousand crowns. 

Weary of every thing else, the king now 
sought to find some little interest in building. 
The renowned architect, Mansard, whose gen- 
ius still embellishes our most beautiful edifices, 
was commissioned to erect a pavilion on the 
grounds of Versailles in imitation of an Italian 
villa. Thus rose, within a year, the Grand 
Trianon, which subsequently became so cele- 
brated as the favorite rural residence of Maria 

Most men who, with vast wealth, attempt to 
build a mansion which shall eclipse that of all 
their neighbors, and which shall be perfect m 
all the appliances of comfort and luxury, find 
themselves, in the end, bitterly disappointed. 
This was pre-eminently the case with Louis 
XIV. The palace of Versailles, still unfin- 
ished, had already cost him countless millions. 
But it did not please the king. It had cold 
and cheerless grandeur, but no attractions as a 
home. The king looked with weary eyes upon 
the mountain pile of marble which had risen 
at his bidding, and found it about as unconge- 
nial for a home as would be the Cathedral of 

1689.] Tus Secret Marriage. 355 

The royal palaces unsatisfactory. The " hermitage" at Marly. 

Notre Dame. Disgusted with the etiquette 
which enslaved him, satiated with sensual in- 
dulgence, and having exhausted all the foun- 
tains of worldly pleasure, with waning powers 
of body and of mind, it is not possible that any 
thing could have satisfied the world-weary king. 

He had other palaces. None suited him. 
The Tuileries and the -Louvre were in the heart 
of the noisy city. The banqueting hall at St. 
Germain overlooked the sepulchre of St. Den- 
is, where the grave-worm held its banquet. 
Fontainebleau was at too great a distance from 
the capital. To reach it required a carriage 
drive of four or five hours. Vincennes, not- 
withstanding the grandeur of the antique, 
time-worn castle, was gloomy in its surround- 
ings, inconvenient in its internal arrangements 
■ — a prison rather than a palace. 

About nine miles from Paris, upon the left 
bank of the Seine, there reposed the silent vil ■ 
lage of Marly. The king selected that as the 
spot upon which he would rear a snug " her- 
mitage" to which he could retire " from noise 
and tumult far." The passion for building is 
a fearful passion, which often involves its vic- 
tim in ruin. The plans of the king expanded 
under his eye. The little hermitage became ^ 

356 Louis i£IY. [1689. 

War with Germany. The dauphin in command. 

spacious palace, where a court could be enter- 
tained with all the appliances of regal elegance. 

But dark and stormy days were rapidly 
gathering around the path of the king. He 
became involved in war with Germany. The 
complicated reasons can scarcely be unraveled. 
The king sent his son, the dauphin, at the head 
of one hundred thousand men, to invade Hol- 
land. Situated upon both sides of the Rhine 
there was a territory called the Palatinate. It 
embraced one thousand fi.\e hundred and nine- 
ty square miles, being not quite so large as the 
State of Delaware. It contained an intelli- 
gent, industrious, and prosperous population of 
a little over three hundred thousand. The 
beautiful city of Manheim was the capital of 
the province. 

Though the dauphin was nominally at the 
head of the invading army, that the glory of 
its victories might redound to Ins name, the 
ablest of the French generals were associated 
with him, and they, in reality, took the direc- 
tion of affairs. One city after another speedi- 
ly fell into the hands of the French. The king 
mercilessly resolved, and without any justifica- 
tion whatever, to convert tho whole province 
into a desert. An order was issued by the 

1689.] The Secket Marriage. 357 

Devastation of the Palatinate. Designs upon England. 

king that every city, village, castle, and hut 
should be laid in ashes. 

It was midwinter — the month of February, 
1689. There were many beautiful cities in 
the province, 6uch as Manheim, Philipsbourg, 
Franckendal, Spire, Treves, Worms, and Op- 
pendeim. There were more than fifty feudal 
castles in the territory, the ancestral homes of 
noble families. The citizens had but short 
Warning. Houses, furniture, food, all were 
consumed. The flames rose to heaven, calling 
upon God for vengeance. Smouldering ruins 
every where met the eye. Men, women, and 
children wandered starving through the fields. 

Nearly all Europe soon became banded 
against this haughty monarch, and he found it 
necessary to raise an army of four hundred 
thousand men to meet the exigencies. 

Intoxicated by the pride of past success, he 
thought that he should be able to force upon 
England a Roman Catholic king, and the Ro- 
man Catholic faith, and thus expel heresy from 
England, as he dreamed that he had expelled 
it from France. He equipped a fleet, and 
manned it with twenty thousand soldiers, to 
force upon the British people King James II., 
*vhom they had indignantly discarded. 

358 Louis XIV. [1689 

Civil war in France. Complications of the royal family. 

Civil war was now also desolating unhappy 
France. The Protestants, bereft of their chil- 
dren, robbed of their property, driven from 
their homes, dragged to the galleys, plunged 
into dungeons, broken upon the wheel, hanged 
upon scaffolds, rose in several places in the 
most desperate insurrectionary bands. And 
the man who was thus crushing beneath the 
heel of his armies the quivering hearts of the 
Palatinate, and who was drenching his own 
realms with tears and blood, was clothed in 
purple, and faring sumptuously, and reclining 
upon the silken sofas of Marly and Versailles. 
It is not strange that Faith, with uplifted hands 
and gushing eyes, should have exclaimed, " O 
Lord, how long !" 

The singular complication of the royal fam- 
ily, with the various mothers and the various 
children, some of which children were recog- 
nized by royal decree as princes, and some of 
whom were not, filled the palaces with bicker- 
ings, envyings, and discontent in every form. 
The unhappy dauphiness, who had long been 
immersed in the profoundest gloom, at last 
found a welcome retreat in the grave. Nei- 
ther her husband nor the king shed a single 
tear over her remains, which were hurried to 
the yaults of St. Denis. 

1690.] Intrigues and Waes. 359 

Exhaustion of the treasury. The royal plate sacrificed- 

Chapter XL 
Intrigues and Wars. 

THE treasury of the king was empty. Ex- 
travagant building, a voluptuous court, 
and all the enormous expenses of civil and 
foreign wars, had quite exhausted the finances 
of the realm. It became necessary to call upon 
the cities for contributions. New offices were 
invented, which were imposed upon the wealthy 
citizens, and for which they were compelled to 
pay large supis. Even the massive silver plate 
and furniture, which had attracted the admira- 
tion of all visitors to Versailles, were sent to 
the Mint and coined. Most of the value of 
these articles of ornament consisted of the skill 
with which the materials had been wrought into 
forms of beautv. In melting them down, all 
this was sacrificed, and nothing remained but 
the mere value of the metal. Large as were 
the sums attained by these means, they were 
but trifling compared with the necessities of 
the state. 

Louvois, the minister of Louis, had for a long 

360 Louis XIY. [1690. 

Assumptions of Lou vols. 

time held the reins of government. It was 
through his influence that the king had been 
instigated to revoke the Edict of Nantes, to 
order the dragonnades, and to authorize those 
atrocities of persecution which must ever ex- 
pose the name of Louis XIV. to the execra- 
tions of humanity. It was Louvois who, from 
merely contemptible caprice, plunged France 
into war with Germany, It was through his 
persuasions that the king was induced to order 
the utter devastation of the Palatinate. 

But the influence of Louvois was now on the 
wane. The jealous king became weary of his 
increasingly haughty assumptions. The con- 
flagration of the Palatinate raised a cry of in- 
dignation which the king could not but hear. 
The city of Treves had escaped the flames. 
Louvois solicited an order to burn it. The 
king refused to give his consent. Louvois in- 
solently gave the order himself. He then in- 
formed the king that he had done so that he 
might spare the conscience of the king the pain 
of issuing such an edict. 

Louis was furious. In his rage he forgot all 
the restraints of etiquette. He seized from the 
fireplace the tongs, and would have broken the 
head of the minister had not Madame de Main- 

1691.] Intrigues and Wars. 363 

Disgrace, sickness, and death of Louvois. 

tenon rushed between them. The king ordered 
a messenger immediately to be dispatched to 
countermand the order. He declared that if 
a single house were burned, the head of the 
minister should be the forfeit. The uty was 

In 1691 the French army was besieging 
Mons. The king visited the works. Thb haugh- 
ty minister, unintimi dated even by the menace 
of the tongs, ventured to countermand an or- 
der which the king had issued. The lowering 
brow of the monarch convinced him that his 
ministerial reign was soon to close. 

The health of the minister began rapidly to 
fail. He became emaciate, languid, and deep- 
ly depressed. A few subsequent interviews 
with the king satisfied him that his disgrace 
and ruin were decided upon. Indeed, the king 
had already drawn up the lettre de cachet 
which was to consign him to the Bastile. 
About the middle of June, 1691, Louvois met 
the king in his council chamber, and, though 
the monarch was unusually complaisant, Lou- 
vois so thoroughly understood him that he re- 
tired to his residence in utter despair. Scarce- 
ly had he entered his apartment ere he dropped 
dead upon the floor. Whether his death were 

364 Louis X1Y. [1692. 

Louis suspicious of Madame de Maintenon. Letters. 

caused by apoplexy, or by poison administered 
by his own hand or that of others, can never 
be known. The king forbade all investigation 
of the case. 

Immediately after the death of Louvois, the 
king be^an to devote himself to business with 
an energy which he had never before mani- 
fested. Madame de Maintenon made some 
farther efforts to induce him to proclaim their 
marriage, but she soon perceived that nothing 
would induce him to change his resolution, aud 
she accepted the situation. Louis now yielded 
more than ever to her influence ; but he was 
always apprehensive that she might be engaged 
in some secret intrigue, and kept a vigilant 
watch over her. In letters to a friend, she gives 
some account of her splendid misery. 

" The king is perpetually on guard over me. 
I see no one. He never leaves my room. I 
am compelled to rise at five in the morning in 
order to write to you. I experience more than 
ever that there is no compensation for the loss 
of liberty." 

Again she writes, in reference to the weary 
routine of court life : " The princesses who 
have not attended the hunt will come in, fol- 
lowed by their cabal, and wait the return of 

1692.] Intrigues and Wars. 365 

Court life. The dauphin. His sons. 

the king in my apartment in order to go to 
dinner. The hunters will come in a crowd, 
and will relate the whole history of their day's 
sport, without sparing us a single detail. They 
will then go to dinner. Madame de Dangeau 
will challenge me, with a yawn, to a game of 
backgammon. Such is the way in which peo- 
ple live at court." 

It will be remembered that the king and 
queen had an only son, the dauphin. He was 
a man of ignoble character and of feeble mind. 
Still, as heir to the throne, he was, next to the 
king, the most important personage in the 
realm. The dauphin had three sons, who were 
in the direct line of succession to the crown. 
These were Louis, duke of Burgoyne, Philip, 
duke of Anjou, and Charles, duke of Berri. 

The eldest, the Duke of Burgoyne, who, of 
course, next to the dauphin, was heir to the 
throne, was thirteen years of age. The king 
selected for his wife Adelaide, the daughter 
of the Duke of Savoy, a remarkably graceful, 
beautiful, and intelligent child of eleven years. 
The pretty little girl was brought to France to 
spend a few months in the court previous to 
her marriage, which was to take place as soon 
as she should attain her twelfth year. She 

306 Louis XIV. [1692. 

Graces of the Duchess of Burgoyne. 

came in great splendor, with her retinue, her 
court, and her ladies of honor. Both the king 
and Madame de Main tenon were charmed 
vith the princess. Sumptuous apartments 
were assigned her in the palace of Versailles. 
Madame de Maintenon wrote to the Duchess 
of Savoy, 

" The king is enchanted with her. He ex- 
patiates on her deportment, her grace, her 
courtesy, her reserve, and her modesty. She 
has all the graces of girlhood, with the perfec- 
tions of a more mature age. Her temper ap- 
pears as perfect as her figure promises one day 
to become. She only requires to speak to dis- 
play the extent of her intellect. I can not re- 
sist thanking your royal highness for giving 
us a child who, according to all appearance, 
will be the delight of the court, and the glory 
of the century." 

The king resolved that the festivities at the 
marriage of these two children should be the 
most splendid which France had ever witness- 
ed. He announced the intention of appearing 
himself, upon the occasion, in the most sump- 
tuous apparel which the taste and art of the 
times could furnish. This intimation was suf- 
ficient for the courtiers. Preparations were 

1697.] Intrigues and Wars. 367 

Misery of the people. Extravagance of the court. 

made for such a display of folly and extrava- 
gance as even alarmed the king. All ordinary 
richness of dress, of satin, and velvet, and em- 
broidery of gold, was discarded for fabrics of 
unprecedented costliness, for bouquets of dia- 
monds, and wreaths of the most precious gems. 

" I can not understand," exclaimed the king, 
" how husbands are mad enough to suffer 
themselves to be ruined by the folly of their 

The marriage took place between the bride 
of twelve vears and the bridegroom of four- 
teen at six o'clock in the evening of the 7th of 
December, 1697. The ceremony was perform- 
ed in the chapel of the palace at Versailles. 
The ensuing festivals exceeded in magnificence 
all that Versailles had previously witnessed. 
But there was no rejoicing among the people. 
They listened, some silently, some sullenly, 
some murmuringly, to the chiming bells and 
the booming cannon. The elements of discon- 
tent and wrath were slowly beginning to col- 
lect for bursting forth one hundred years later, 
in that most sublime of moral tempests, the 
French Revolution. 

The grand avenue to Versailles day after 
day was crowded with gorgeous equipages. 

368 Louis XI Y. [1700. 

Brilliant assembly. Death of Charles II. 

At night it blazed with illuminations. The 
highest ingenuity was taxed to devise new 
scenes of splendor and amusement, which fol- 
lowed each other in rapid succession. Three 
days after the marriage, the king gave a spe- 
cial assembly which was to eclipse all the rest. 
All the ladies were directed to appear in dress- 
es of black velvet, that the precious gems, 
which were almost literally to cover those 
dresses, might sparkle more brilliantly. The 
great gallery of Versailles was illuminated by 
four thousand wax-lights. The voiing bride 
wore upon her apron alone jewels estimated 
at a sum equal to fifty thousand dollars. 

On the 1st of November, 1700, Charles IT., 
the half crazed King of Spain, died, leaving 
no heir. The pope, Innocent XII., bribed by 
Louis XIV., sent a nuncio to the dying king, 
enjoining upon him to transmit his crown to 
the children of the Dauphin of France, as the 
legitimate heirs to the monarchy. As the 
Duke of Burgoyne was the direct heir to the 
throne of France, the second son of the dan 
phin, the Duke of Anjou, still a mere boy, was 
proclaimed King of Spain, with the title of 
Philip V. 

On *he 14th of the month the Spanish em* 

1700,] Intrigues and Wars. 369 

The Duke of Anjou proclaimed King of Spain. 

bassador was summoned to an audience with 
Louis XIV. at Versailles. The king present- 
ed his grandson to the minister, saying, " This, 
sir, is the Duke of Anjou, whom you may sa- 
lute as your king." 

A large crowd of courtiers was soon assem- 
bled. The Spanish minister threw himself 
upon his knees before the boy with expressions 
of profound homage. There was a scene of 
great excitement. The king, embracing with 
his left arm the neck of the young prince, 
pointed to him with his right hand, and said 
to those present, 

" Gentlemen, this is the King of Spain. His 
birth calls him to the crown.* The late kino; 
lias recognized his right by his will. All the 
nation desires his succession, and has entreated 
it at my hands. It is the will of Heaven, to 
which I conform with satisfaction." 

The Duke of Anion was quite delighted in 

* The claim of the young prince was founded upon the fact 
that his grandmother, Maria Theresa, was the eldest daugh- 
ter of Philip IV. of Spain. She had, however, upon her mar 
riage, renounced all claim to the succession. Her younger 
Bister, Margarita, had married the Emperor Leopold of Au* 
tria without this renunciation. The emperor claimed the 
crown for her daughter, who had married the Elector of Ba- 
varia. Hence the war of The Spanish Succession. 
i— 23 

370 Louis XIV. [1700. 

Anecdote of the princes. Preparations for the coronation* 

finding himself thus liberated from all the re- 
straints of tutors and governors, and of being, 
in his boyhood, elevated to the dignity of a 
crowned king. As soon as these stately forms 
of etiquette were concluded, and he was alone 
with his brothers, he kicked up his heels and 
snapped his fingers, exclaiming witli delight, 

" So I am King of Spain. You, Burgoyne, 
will be King of France. And you, my poor 
Bern', are the only one who must live and die 
a subject." 

The little prince replied, perhaps upon the 
principle that " the grapes were sour," perhaps 
because he had observed how little real happi- 
ness regal state had brought to his grandfather, 

" That fact will not grieve me. I shall have 
less trouble and more pleasure than either of 
you. I shall enjoy the right of hunting both 
in France and Spain, and can follow a wolf 
from Paris to Madrid." 

Preparations were immediately made for the 
departure of the boy-king to take possession of 
his Spanish throne and crown. The pomp- 
loving French king had decided to invest the 
occasion with great splendor. He regarded it 
as a signal stroke of policy, and a great victory 
on his part a that he had been enabled, notwith* 

1700.] Intrigues and Wars. 371 

Exultation of Louis XIV. Final meeting of the royal family. 

standing the remonstrances of other nations, to 
place a French Bourbon prince upon the throne 
of Spain, thus virtually uniting the two nations. 
lie thought he had thus extended the domain 
of France to the Straits of Gibraltar. " Hence- 
forth," exclaimed Louis XIV., exultingly, 
" there are no more Pyrenees." 

To his grandson, the new king, he said, "Be 
a good Spaniard, but never forget that you 
w r ere born a Frenchman. Carefully maintain 
the union of the two nations. Thus only can 
you render them both happy." 

There was a final meeting of the royal fam- 
ily to take leave of the young monarch as he 
was departing for his realm. All the young 
nobility of France, with a numerous military 
escort, were to compose his brilliant retinue. 
The Duchess du Maine, the legitimatized daugh- 
ter of Madame de Montespan, and thus the half 
brother of the dauphin, persuaded the dauphin 
to invite her mother to the palace on tin's occa- 
sion. Here occurred the last interview between 
the heartless king and his discarded favorite. 

As the king made the tour of the room, he 
found himself opposite Madame de Montespan. 
She was greatly overcome by her emotions, and, 
pale and trembling, was near fainting. The 

372 Louis XIV. [1700. 

Last interview between Madame de Montespan and the king. 

king coldly and searchingly, for a moment, 
fixed his eye upon her, and then said, calmly, 

" Madame, I congratulate you. You are still 
as handsome and attractive as ever. I hope 
that you are also happy." 

The marchioness replied, "At this moment, 
sire, I am very happy, since I have the honor 
of presenting my respectful homage to your 

The king, with his studied grace of courtesy, 
kissed her hand, and continued his progress 
around the circle. The monarch and his per- 
haps equally guilty victim never met again. 
She lived twenty-two years after her expulsion 
from the palace. They were twenty-two years 
of joylessness. Her confessor, who seems to 
have been a man of sincere piety, refused her 
absolution until she had written to her hus- 
band, the Marquis de Montespan, whom she 
had abandoned for the guilty love of the king, 
affirming her heartfelt repentance, imploring 
his forgiveness, and entreating him either to 
receive her back, or to order her to any place 
of residence which he should think proper. 
The indignant marquis replied that he would 
neither admit her to his house, nor prescribe * 
for her any future rules of conduct, nor suffer 

1707.] Intrigues and Wars. 373 

Penance of Madame de Montespan. Her death. 

her name ever again to be mentioned in his 

The reverend father compelled her, in atone- 
ment for her sins, to sit at a frugal table; to 
consecrate her vast wealth to objects of benev- 
olence ; to wear haircloth next her skin, and 
around her waist a girdle with sharp points, 
which lacerated her body at every movement. 
She was also daily employed in making gar- 
ments of the coarsest materials with her own 
hands for the sick in the hospitals, and for the 
poor in their squalid homes. 

The guilty marchioness was dreadfully afraid 
of death. Every night a careful guard of wom- 
en watched her bedside. In a thunder-storm 
she would take an infant in her lap, that the 
child's innocence might be her protection. In 
the night of the 26th of May, 1707, she was at- 
tacked in her bed by very distressing suffoca- 
tion. One of her sons, the Marquis of Antin, 
was immediately sent for. He found his moth- 
er insensible. Seizing a casket which contained 
her jewels, he demanded of an attendant the 
key. It was suspended around the neck of his 
dying mother, where she ever wore it. The 
young man went to the bedside, tore away the 
lace which veiled his mother's bosom, seized 

374 Louis XIV. [1707. 

Heartless conduct of the king. His health, failing. 

the key, unlocked the casket, emptied its con- 
tents into his pockets, descended to his carriage, 
and hurried away with the treasure, leaving his 
mother to die without a relative to close her 
eyes. An hour after she breathed her last. 

The king was informed of the death of Ma- 
dame de Montespan just as he was setting out 
on a shooting excursion. " Ah ! indeed," he 
said, "and so the marchioness is dead. I 
should have thought that she would have last- 
ed longer. Are you ready, M. de la Roche- 
f oucald 1 I have no doubt that after this last 
shower the scent will lie well for the dogs. 
Come, let us be off at once." 

We have slightly anticipated the chronology 
ical sequence of events in this narrative of the 
death of Madame de Montespan, which took 
place in the year 1707. James II. of England 
died in exile at St. Germain in September, 
1701. The Prince of Orange then occupied 
the British throne with the title of William 
III. He formed what was called the " Grand 
Alliance" against the encroachments of France. 
For several years the war of the " Spanish 
Succession" raged with almost unprecedented 
fury throughout all Europe. 

The king's health was now failing, and 

1707.] Intrigues and "Wars. 377 

Quarrel with Philip. He is stricken with apoplexy. 

troubles in rapid succession came crowding 
upon him. His armies encountered terrible 
defeats. The king had thus far lived on 
friendly terms with his only brother Philip, 
duke of Orleans, the playmate of his childhood, 
and the submissive subject of maturer years. 
They were now both soured by misfortune. 
In a chance meeting at Marly they fell into a 
violent altercation respecting the conduct of 
one of the sons of the duke. It was their first 
quarrel since childhood. The duke was so ex- 
cited by the event that he hastened to his pal- 
ace at St. Cloud with flushed cheeks and trem- 
bling nerves, where he was stricken down by 
apoplexy. A courier was immediately dis- 
patched to the king. lie hastened to the bed- 
side of his brother, and found him insensible. 

Philip was two years younger than Louis. 
To see him die was a louder appeal to the con- 
science of the king than the view of St. Denis 
from the terrace at St. Germain. Death was, 
to this monarch, truly the king of terrors. He 
could not endure the spectacle of his brother's 
dying convulsions. Burying his face in his 
hands, he wept and sobbed bitterly. It was a 
midnight scene, or rather it was the sombre 
hour of three o'clock in the morning. 

378 Louis XI V. [1701. 

Death of the king's brother. The king dispels his gloom. 

At 8 o'clock in the morning the king took 
his carriage and returned to Marly, and repair- 
ed immediately to the apartment of Madame 
de Maintenon. At 11 o'clock his physician* .^i 
arrived with the intelligence that the duke was 
dead. Again the king was overcome with 
emotion, and wept almost convulsively ; but, 
soon recovering himself, he apparently resolved 
to make every effort to throw off these painful 

Notwithstanding the remonstrances of Ma- 
dame de Maintenon, he persisted in his deter- 
mination to dine, as usual, with the ladies of 
the court. Much to the astonishment of the 
ladies, he was heard, in his own room, singing 
an air from a recent opera which was far from 
funereal in its character. 

In the month of May of this same year, 1701, 
the Duke of Anjou, the young King of Spain, 
who was uneasily seated upon his beleaguered 
throne, entered into a matrimonial alliance 
with Maria Louisa of Savoy, younger sister of 
Adelaide, the duchess of Burgoyne. She was 
of fairy-like stature, but singularly graceful 
and beautiful, with the finest complexion, and 
eyes of dazzling brilliance. Her mental en- 
dowments were also equal to her physical 

1701.] Intrigues and Wars. 379 

The Princess des Ursins. Civil war. 

charms. Louis XIV., ever anxious to retain 
the control over the court of Spain, appointed 
the Princess des Ursins to be the companion 
and adviser of the young queen. This lady 
was alike remarkable for her intelligence, her 
sagacity, her tact, and her thorough acquaint- 
ance with high and courtly breeding. The 
young King of Spain was perfectly enamored 
of his lovely bride. She held the entire con- 
trol over him. The worldly-wise and experi- 
enced Princess des Ursins guided, in obedience 
to the dictates of Louis XIV., almost every 
thought and volition of the young queen. 
Thus the monarch at Marly ruled the court at 

While foreign war was introducing bank- 
ruptcy to the treasury of France, civil war was 
also desolating the kingdom. The sufferings 
of the Protestants equaled any thing which had 
been witnessed in the days of pagan persecu- 
tion. The most ferocious of all these men, who 
were breathing out threatenings and slaughter, 
was the Abbe de Oh ay la. This wretch had 
captured a party of Protestants, and, with them, 
two young ladies from families of distinction. 
They were all brutally thrust into a dungeon, 
and were fettered in a way which caused ex- 

880 Louis XI Y. [1702. 

Insurrection of the Protestant6. Enthusiasm of the Camisards, 

treme anguish, and crushed some of their bones. 
It was the 2-ith of July, 1702. At ten o'clock 
in the evening, a partv of about fifty resolute 
Protestants, thoroughly armed, and chanting a 
psalm, broke into the palace of the infamous ec- 
clesiastic, released the prisoners from the dun- 
geon vaults, seized the abbe, and, after compel- 
ling him to look upon the mangled bodies and 
broken bones of his victims, put him to death 
by a dagger-stroke from each one of his assail- 
ants. The torch was then applied, and the pal- 
ace laid in ashes. 

Hence commenced the terrible civil war 
called The War of the Camisards. The Prot- 
estants were poor, dispersed, without arms, and 
Without leaders. Despair nerved them. They 
fled to rocks, to the swamps, the forests. In 
their unutterable anguish they were led to fren- 
zies of enthusiasm. They believed that God 
chose their leaders, and inspired them to action. 
Thus roused and impelled, they set at defiance 
an army of twenty thousand men sent against 

The terrible war lasted two years. Fiends 
could not have perpetrated greater cruelties 
than were perpetrated by the troops of the 
king. It is one of the mysteries of divine prov* 

1702.] Intrigues and Wars. 381 

Cruelty of the persecutors. 

idence that one man should have been permit 
ted to create such wide-spread and unutterable 
woe. Louis XIY. wished to exterminate Prot- 
estantism from his realms. Millions were mado 
wretched to an intensity which no pen can de- 
scribe. Louis XIY. wished to place his grand 
son, without any legal title, upon the throne 
of Spain. In consequence, Europe was deluged 
in blood. Cities w T ere sacked and burned. 
Provinces were devastated. Hundreds of thou- 
sands perished in the blood of the battle-field. 
The book of final judgment alone can tell how 
many widows and orphans w T ent weeping to 
their graves. 

The Pope Clement IX. fulminated a bull 
against the Camisards, and promised the abso- 
lute remission of sins to those engaged in their 
extermination. Protestant England and Hol- 
land sent words of cheer to their fellow-relig- 
ionists. We can not enter into the details of 
this conflict. The result was that the king 
found it impossible to exterminate the Prot- 
estants, or to blot out their faith. A policy 
of semi - tolerance was gradually introduced, 
though in various parts of the kingdom the 
persecuting spirit remained for several years 
unbroken. The king, chagrined by the failure 

382 Louis XIV [1711 

Distress in France. The dauphin taken sick. 

of his plans, would not allow the word Protest- 
ant or Huguenot to be pronounced in his pres- 

The distress in France was dreadful. A win- 
ter of unprecedented severity had even frozen 
the impetuous waters of the Rhone. Provisions 
commanded famine prices. The fields were 
barren, the store -houses exhausted, the mer- 
chant ships were captured by the enemy, and 
the army, humiliated by frequent defeats, was 
perishing with hunger. The people became 
desperate. The king was ignominiously lam- 
pooned and placarded. He dared not appear 
in public, for starving crowds gathered around 
his carriage clamoring for bread. Even the 
king and the nobility sent their plate to the 
Mint. The exhaustion of the realm had be- 
come so complete that the haggard features of 
want seemed to be staring in even at the win- 
dows of the palace. Madame de Maintenon 
practiced so much self-denial as to eat only 
oaten bread. 

In April of 1711 the dauphin was taken sick 
with apparently an attack of fever. It proved 
to be malignant smallpox. After a brief sick- 
ness, which terrified and dispersed the court, 
he died, almost alone, in a burning fever, with 

1711.] Intrigues and "Wars. 383 

Death and burial of the dauphin. 

a frightfully swollen face, and in delirium. 
Even the king could not visit the dying cham- 
ber of his son. He fainted upon his sofa when 
he heard that the dauphin was in his last ago- 

The terror-stricken courtiers fled from the 
palace of Meudon, where the loathsome re- 
mains of the heir to the throne of France 
awaited burial The corpse was hurried into 
a plain coffin, which was not even covered by 
the royal pall. Not a single mourning coach 
followed the only legitimate son of Louis XIV. 
to the grave. lie had two sisters, the Princess 
of Conti and the Duchess of Bourbon Conde. 
Neither of them ventured to join the funeral 
procession of their only brother. He had three 
sons, Louis, Philip, and Charles. Philip was 
king of Spain. Louis and Charles were at 
home. But they kept at a safe distance, as did 
the king his father, from the meagre funeral 
procession which bore, with indecent haste, the 
remains of the prince to the vaults of St. Denis* 

SSI Louis XIV. [1712. 

The Duke of Burgoyue. His character. 

Chapter XII. 
The Last Days of Louis XIV. 

UPON the death of the king's son, the Duke 
of Burgoyne assumed the title of Dau- 
phin, which his father had previously borne, 
and became direct heir to the crown. He was 
a retiring, formal man, very much devoted to 
study, and somewhat pedantic. He was also 
religiously inclined. In his study, where lie 
passed most of his time, he divided his hours 
between works of devotion and books of sci- 
ence. His sudden advent to the direct heir- 
ship to the French throne surrounded him with 
courtiers and flatterers. The palace at Meu- 
don, where he generally resided, was now 
crowded with noble guests. 

He became affable, frequently showed him- 
self in public, entered into amusements, and 
was soon regarded as a general favorite. 
Taught bv Madame de Maintenon, he succeed- 
ed, by his marked respect for the king and liis 
submission to his slightest wishes, in gaining 
the good will of the homage-loving monarch, 
flie years had rolled rapidly along> and th«) 

1712.] Last Days of Louis XIV. 385 

The dauphiness poisoned by means of snuff. 

young dauphin was thirty years of age. He 
had three children, and, being irreproachable 
in his domestic relations, was developing a very 
noble character, The dauphiness had attain- 
ed her twenty-seventh year. She was an ex 
tremely beautiful and fascinating woman. 

The dauphiness was fond of snuff. On the 
3d of February, 1712, the Duke de Noailles, a 
true friend, presented her with a box of Span- 
ish snuff, with which she was delighted. She 
left the box upon the table in her boudoir. It 
was there for a couple of days, she frequently 
indulging in the luxury of a pinch. On the 
5th she was attacked with sudden sickness, ac- 
companied by shivering fits, burning fever, and 
intense pain in the head. The attack was so 
sudden and extraordinary that all the attend- 
ants thought of poison, though none ventured 
to give utterance to the surmise. For four 
days she grew worse, with frequent seasons of 
delirium. The dauphin was almost frantic. 
The king sat in anguish, hour after hour, at 
her bedside. 

Nc remedies were of any avail. Her_suffer- 
iiigs were so great that the dauphin could not 
remain in her dying chamber to witness her 
agony. She was greatly surprised when in- 


386 Louis XI Y. [1712, 

Anguish of the king. Deaths The dauphin taken ill. 

formed that she must die. All the offices of 
the Church were attended to. She received 
the rite of extreme unction, and, in the wild- 
ness of delirium, lost all recognition of those 
who were around her. The king, bowed down 
with anguish, was with difficulty prevailed 
upon to retire. lie had but reached the door 
of the palace when she expired. 

The king was now a world-weary, heart- 
stricken old man, who had numbered more 
than his threescore years and ten. He seem- 
ed crushed with grief, and his eyes were flood- 
ed with tears as he returned, with Madame de 
Maintenon, to Marly. The apartment which 
the dauphin paced in agony was immediately 
above the dying chamber. As soon as the 
death-struggle was over, he was induced to re- 
tire to Marly, that he might be spared the an- 
guish of witnessing the preparations for the 

As the dauphin entered the chamber of the 
king, the monarch was startled in witnessing 
the change which had taken place in his ap- 
pearance. His face was flushed with fever; 
his eyes were dilated and inflamed, and livid 
stains covered his face. It was manifest that 
the same disease, whatever it was, which had 

1712.] Last Days of Louis XIV. 387 

Death of the danphin. 

stricken down the dauphiness, had also attack- 
ed the dauphin. The malady made rapid 
progress. In the intensity of his anguish, the 
sufferer declared his entrails were on fire. 
Conscious that his dying hour had come, he, 
on the night of the 17th, partook of the sacra- 
ment of the Lord's Supper, and almost imme- 
diately expired. 

The dreadful tidings were conveyed to the 
king as he sat in the apartment of Madame de 
Maintenon, w T ith the younger brother of the 
dauphin, Charles, the duke de Berri, by his 
side. The king, anticipating the announce- 
ment, sat with his head bent down upon his 
breast, and clasping almost convulsively the 
hand of the prince who sat at his feet Throw- 
ing his arms around the neck of the Duke de 
Berri, the king exclaimed, in accents of despair, 
" Alas ! my son, you alone are now left to me." 
The Duke of Burgoyne had buried three 
children. There were two then living. The 
eldest, the Duke of Bretagne, was five years of 
age. The youngest, the Duke of Anjou, had 
just attained his second year. By the death 
of the Duke of Burgoyne, his eldest child be- 
came the dauphin and the immediate heir to 
the crown. The next day both of these chil- 

388 Louis XIV, [1712. 

Death of the child-dauphin. The Duke of Orleans. 

dren were taken sick, evidently with the same 
malady, whether of natural disease or the ef- 
fect of poison, which had proved so fatal to 
their parents. The eldest immediately died. 
The same funeral car conveyed the remains of 
the father, the mother, and the child to the 
gloomy vaults of St Denis. 

Thejoun^e^t_childj the Duke of Anjou, by 
the most careful nursing recovered to ascend 
the throne with the title of Louis XV., and to 
present to the world, in his character, one of 
the most infamous kings who had ever worn 
an earthly crown. 

We have previously mentioned the death of 
the king's only brother, Philip, duke of Or- 
leans. He left a son, the Duke of Chartres. 
Upon the death of the Duke of Orleans his 
son inherited the title and the estate of his fa- 
ther. He was an exceedingly dissolute man. 
Should all the legitimate descendants of the 
king die, he would be heir to the throne. 
With the exception of Philip, who was King 
of Spain, and thus precluded from inheriting 
the throne of France, all were now dead ex- 
cept the infant Duke of Anjou. The death 
of that child would place the crown upon the 
brow of Philip, duke of Orleans, 

1712.JLast Days of Louis KLY, 389 

He Is suspected as the poisoner. A quarrel and Us result, 

As it was evident that all these victims had 
died of poison, suspicion was so directed against 
the Duke of Orleans that the accusation was 
often hooted at him in the streets, There is, 
however, no convincing evidence that he was 
guilty. One of the daughters of the Duke of 
Orleans had married the Duke de BerrL She 
was as wicked as she was beautiful, and scarce- 
ly condescended to disguise her profligacy 
The duke intercepted some letters which 
proved her guilty intimacy with an officer of 
her household. A violent quarrel took place 
in the royal presence. The husband kicked 
his wife with his heavy boot, and the king lift- 
ed his cane to strike the duke. 

A sort of reconciliation was effected. The 
duchess, who, beyond all doubt, was a guilty 
woman, professed to be satisfied with the apolo- 
gies which her husband made. Soon after they 
went on a wolf hunt in the forest of Marly. 
Both appeared in high spirits. The run was 
long. Heated by the race and thirsty, the duke 
asked the duchess if she had any thing with 
her with which he could quench his thirst. 
She drew from the pocket of her carnage a 
small bottle, which contained, she said, an ex- 
quisite cordial with which she was always pro- 

390 Louis XIT. [1712. 

Death of the Duke de Berri. Anguish of the Duke of Orleans. 

vided in case of over-fatigue. The duke drain- 
ed it, and returned the empty bottle to the 
duchess. As she took it she said, with a smile, 
" I am very glad to have met you so oppor- 

Thus they parted. In a few hours the duke 
was a corpse. It was so manifestly for the in- 
terest of the dissolute and unprincipled Duke 
of Orleans that the princes which stood be- 
tween him and the throne should be removed, 
that all these cases of poisoning were attributed 
to him. Indeed, one of the motives which 
might have influenced his daughter, the Duch- 
ess de Berri, to poison her husband, whom she 
loathed, may have been the hope of seeing her 
father upon the throne. When the funeral 
procession passed near the Palais Royal, the 
residence of the duke, the tumult was so great 
that it was feared that the palace might be 

The anguish of the duke, thus clamorously 
assailed with the crime of the most atrocious 
series of assassinations, was great. A friend, 
the Marquis de Canillac, calling upon him one 
day, found him prostrate upon the floor of his 
apartment in utter despair. He knew that he 
was suspected by his uncle the king, and by 

1712.] Last Days of Louis XIV. 391 

Feelings of the king. The regency. Intrigues and plots. 

the court as well as by the populace. At last 
he went boldly to the king, and demanded that 
he should be arrested, sent to the Bastile, and 
put upon trial. The king sternly, and without 
any manifestation of sympathy, refused,, saying 
that such a scandal should not, with his con- 
sent, be. made any more public than it already 
was. The king also recoiled from the idea of 
having a prince of the blood royal tried for 

As it was known that the king could not live 
long, and a babe of but two years was to be his 
successor — a feeble babe, who had already nar- 
rowly escaped death by poison, the question of 
the regency, during the minority of this babe, 
and of heirship to the throne in case the babe 
should die, became a matter of vast moment. 
The court was filled with intrigues and plots. 
The Duke of Orleans had his numerous parti- 
sans, men of opulence and rank. He was but a 
nephew of the king — son of the king's brother. 

On the other hand was the Duke du Maine, 
an acknowledged son of the king — the legiti- 
mated son of Madame de MontpensieT But 
no royal decree, no act of Parliament could 
obliterate the stain of his birth. He had many 
and powerful supporters, who, by his accession 

392 Louis XIV. [1712. 

— — < 

Louis harassed. The Duke of Orleans removes to St. Cloud 

to power, would be placed in all the offices of 
honor and emolument. Madame de Mainte- 
non, in herself a host, was one of the most de- 
voted of his friends. She had been his tutor. 
She had ever loved him ardentl} 7 . He had also 
pledged her, in case of his success, that she 
should be recognized as Queen of France. 

The monarch was harassed and bewildered 
by these contending factions. The populace 
took sides. The Duke of Orleans could not 
leave his palace without being exposed to the 
hootin^s of the rabble. He withdrew from 
his city residence, the Palais Royal, to the splen- 
did palace of St. Cloud. He was accompanied 
by a magnificent train of nobles, and, being a 
man of almost boundless wealth, he established 
his court here in regal splendor. 

There was no proof that the Duke of Or- 
leans was implicated in the poisonings. The 
king was unwilling to receive evidence that his 
brother's son could be guilty of such a crime. 
Being superstitiously a religionist, the king re- 
coiled from the attempt to place upon the 
throne a son of Madame de Montespan, who 
was the acknowledged wife of another man. 
He therefore favored the claims of the Duke 
of Orleans, and sent him word at St- Cloud that 

1712.] Last Days of Louis XIY„ 393 

Policy. Wretchedness of the king. The Duchess de Berri. 

he recognized his innocence of the crime of 
which public rumor accused him. 

It is, however, very evident that this was a 
measure of policy and not of sincere convic- 
tion. He entered into no friendly relations 
witli the duke, and kept him at a respectful 
distance. The disastrous w T ar of the Spanish 
Succession was now closed, through the curi- 
ous complications of state policy. Philip YI. 
retained his throne, but France was exhaust- 
ed and impoverished. The king often sat for 
hours, with his head leaning upon his hand, in 
a state of profound listlessness and melancholy. 
Famine was ravaging the land. A wail of woe 
came from millions whom his wars and extrav- 
agance had reduced to starvation. 

The Duchess de Berri, the unblushing prof- 
ligate, the undoubted murderess, was, as the 
daughter of the king's brother, the only legiti- 
mate princess left to preside over the royal 
court. She was fascinating in person and man- 
ners, with scarcely a redeeming virtue to atone 
for her undisguised vices. 

" Thus the stately court of Anne of Austria, 
the punctilious circle of Maria Theresa, and 
the elegant society of the Duchess of Burgoyne 
were — at the very period of his life when Louis 

394 Louis XIV. [1712. 

Plottings. The council of regency. 

XIY., at length disenchanted of the greatness 
and disgusted with the vices of the world, was 
seeking to purify his heart and to exalt his 
thoughts that they might become more meet 
for heaven — superseded by the orgies of a wan- 
ton, who, with unabashed brow and unshrink- 
ing eye, carried her intrigues into the very sa- 
loons of Marly."* 

Madame de Maintenon _resorted to every 
measure she could devise to induce the king to 
appoint her favorite pupil, the Duke du Maine, 
regent during the minority of the infant Duke 
of Anjou. The king was greatly harassed. Old, 
infirm, world-weary, heart-stricken, and pulled 
in opposite directions by powers so strong, he 
knew not what to do. At last he adopted a 
sort of compromise, which gave satisfaction to 
neither party. 

The king appointed a council of regency, 
of which the Duke of Orleans was president. 
But the Duke du Maine was a member of the 
council, and was also intrusted with the guard- 
ianship and education of the young heir to the 
throne. This will was carefully concealed in 
a cavity opened in the wall of a tower of the 
state apartment. The iron door of this closet 

* Louis XIV. and the Court of France, vol. ii=, p. 588. 

1715.] Last Days of Louis XIY. 395 

The last testament of the king. Unsatisfactory. 

was protected by three keys, one of which was 
held by the president of the chambers, one by 
the attorney general, and one by the public 

A royal edict forbade the closet to be opened 
nntil after the death of the king, and then only 
in the presence of the assembled Parliament, 
the princes, and the peers. The document had 
been extorted from the king. It was not in 
accordance with his wishes. Indeed, it satis- 
fied no one. As he placed the papers in the 
hands of the president of the chambers, he said 
to him, gloomily, 

"Here is my will. The experience of my 
predecessors has taught me that it may not be 
respected. But I have been tormented to frame 
it. I have been allowed neither peace nor rest 
until I complied. Take it away. Whatever 
may happen to it, I hope that I shall now be 
left in quiet."* 

The advanced age of the king and his many 
infirmities rendered even a slight indisposition 
alarming. Ojuthe evening of the 3d of May, 
1715, the king, having supped with the Duch- 
ess de Berri, retired to bed early, complain- 
ing of weariness and exhaustion. The rumor 

* Memojres de St. Simon, 

396 Louis XI Y. [1715. 

Sickness of the king. The last review. 

spread rapidly that the king was dangerously 
sick. The foreign embassadors promptly dis- 
patched the news to their several courts. 

The jealous king, who kept himself minute- 
ly informed of every thing which transpired, 
was very indignant in view of this apparent 
eagerness to hurry him to the tomb. To prove, 
not only to the court, but to all Europe, that he 
was still every inch a king, lie ordered a mag- 
nificent review of the royal troops at Marly. 
The trumpet of preparation was blown loudly. 
Many came, not only from different parts of 
the kingdom, but from the other states of Eu- 
rope, to witness the spectacle. It took place 
on the 20th of June, 1715. As the troops, in 
their gorgeous uniforms, defiled before the ter- 
race of Marly, quite a spruce-looking man, sur- 
rounded by obsequious attendants, emerged 
from the principal entrance of the palace, de- 
scended the marble steps and mounted his 
horse. It was the poor old king. Inspired by 
vanity, which even dying convulsions could not 
quell, he had rouged his pale and haggard 
cheeks, wigged his thin locks, padded his skel- 
eton limbs, and dressed himself in the almost 
juvenile costume of earlier years. Sustained 
by artificial stimulants, this poor old man kept 

1715.] Last Days of Louis XIV. 397 

Struggles against death. Affects youthfulness. 

his tottering seat upon his saddle for four long 
hours. He then, having proved that he was 
still young and vigorous, returned to his cham- 
ber c The wig was thrown aside, the pads re- 
moved, the paint washed off, and the infirm 
septuagenarian sought rest from his exhaus- 
tion upon the royal couch. 

Day after day the king grew more feeble, 
with the usual alternations of nervous strength 
and debility, but with no abatement of his 
chronic gloom. The struggles which he en- 
dured to conceal the approaches of decay did 
but accelerate that decay. He was restless, 
and again lethargic. Dropsical symptoms ap- 
peared in his discolored feet and swollen an- 
kles. Still he insisted every day upon seeing 
his ministers, and exhibited himself padded, 
and rouged, and costumed in the highest style 
of art. He even affected, in his gait and ges- 
ture, the elasticity of youth. In his restless- 
ness, the king repaired, with his court, from 
Marly to Versailles. 

Here the king was again taken seriously sick 
with an attack of fever,, Wjth-un abated reso- 
lution, he continued his struggles against the 
approaches of the angel of death. While the 
fevered blood was throbbing in his veins, he 

308 Louis XIV. [1715. 

Summons a band. SceDe in the death-chamber. 

declared that he was but slightly indisposed, 
and summoned a musical band to his presence, 
with orders that the musicians should perform 
only the most animating and cheerful melo- 

But the fever and other alarming symptoms 
increased so rapidly that scarcely had the band 
been assembled when the court physicians be- 
came apprehensive that the king's dissolution 
was immediately to take place. The king's 
confessor and the Cardinal de Rohan were 
promptly summoned to attend to the last ser- 
vices of the Catholic Church for the dying. 
There was a scene of confusion in the palace. 
The confessor, Le Tellier, communicated to the 
king the intelligence that he was probably 
near his end. While he was receiving the 
confession of the royal penitent, the cardinal 
was hurrying to the chapel to get the viaticum 
for administering the communion, and the 
holy oil for the rite of extreme unction. 

It was customary that the pyx, as the box 
was called in which the host was kept, should 
be conveyed to the bedside of expiring royalty 
in formal procession. The cardinal, in his 
robes of office, led the way. Several attend- 
ants of the royal household followed, bearing 

1715.] Last Days of Louis XIV. 399 

The last offices of the Church. The king resigned. 

torches. Then came Madame de Maintenon. 
They all gathered in the magnificent chamber, 
and around the massive, sumptuous couch of 
the monarch. The cardinal, after speaking a 
few words in reference to the solemnity of a 
dying hour, administered the sacrament and 
the holy oils. The king listened reverently 
and in silence, and then sank back upon his 
pillow, apparently resigned to die. 

To the surprise of all, he revived. Patiently 
he bore his sufferings, which at times were se- 
vere. His legs began to swell badly and pain- 
fully. Mortification took place. He was in- 
formed that the amputation of the leg was 
necessary to save him from speedy death. 

" Will the operation prolong my life ?" in- 
quired the king. 

" Yes, sire," the surgeon replied ; " certainly 
for some days, perhaps for several weeks." 

"If that be all," said the king, "it is not 
worth the suffering. God's will be done." 

The king could not conceal the anguish with 
which he was agitated in view of his wicked 
life. He fully believed in the religion of the 
New Testament, and that after death came the 
judgment. He tried to believe that the priest 
had power to grant him absolution from his 

400 Louis XI V. [1715. 

Remorse of the king. Energy of fanaticism. 

sins. How far lie succeeded in this no one 
can know. 

Openly he expressed his anguish in view of 
the profligacy of his youth, and wept bitterly 
in the retrospect of those excesses. We.Jmow 
not what compunctions of conscience visited 
him as he reflected upon the misery he had 
caused by the persecution of the Protestants. 
But lie had been urged to this by his highest 
ecclesiastics, and even by the holy father him- 

It would not be strange, under these circum- 
stances, if a man of his superstitious and fanat- 
ical spirit should, even in a dying hour, reflect 
with some complacency upon these crimes, be- 
lieving that thus he had been doing God serv- 
ice. It is this which gives to papal fanaticism 
its terrible and demoniac energy. The sincere 
papist believes "heresy" to be poison for the 
soul infinitely more dreadful than any poison 
for the body. Such poison must be banished 
from the world at whatever cost of suffering. 
Many an ecclesiastic has gone from his closet 
of prayer to kindle the flames which consumed 
his victim. The more sincere the papist is in 
his belief, the more mercilessly will he swing 
the scourge and fire the fagot. 

1715.] L^st Days of Louis XIY. 401 

Deplorable condition of France. 

Loudly, however, he deplored the madness 
of his ambition which had involved Europe in 
such desolating wars. Bitterly he expressed 
his regret that he left France in a state of such 
exhaustion, impoverished, burdened with taxa- 
tion, and hopelessly crushed by debt. 

The condition of the realm was indeed de- 
plorable. A boy of five years of age was to 
inherit the throne. A man so profligate that 
he was infamous even in a court which rival- 
ed Sodom in its corruption was to be invested 
with the regency of the kingdom — a man who 
was accused, by the general voice of the nation, 
of having poisoned those who stood between 
him and the throne. That man's sister, an un- 
blushing wanton, who had poisoned her own 
husband, presided over the festivities of the 
palace. The nobles, abandoned to sensual in- 
dulgence, were diligent and ingenious only in 
their endeavors to wrench money from the 
poor. The masses of the people were wretch- 
ed beyond description, and almost beyond im- 
agination in our land of liberty and compe- 
tence. The execrations of the starving mil- 
lions were rising in a long wail around the 

Thomas Jefferson, subsequently President of 

402 Louis XIV. [1715. 

Testimony of Thomas Jefferson. Napoleon. 

the United States, who, not many years after 
this, was the American embassador at Paris, 
wrote, in 1785, to Mrs. Trist, of Philadelphia, 

" Of twenty millions of people supposed to 
be in France, I am of the opinion that there 
are nineteen millions more wretched, more ac- 
cursed in every circumstance of human exist- 
ence than the most conspicuously wretched in- 
dividual of the whole United States." 

Even the Duke of Orleans, the appointed 
regent, said, " If I were a subject I would cer- 
tainly revolt. The people are good-natured 
fools to suffer so long." 

These sufferings and these corruptions were 
the origin and cause of the French Revolu- 
tion.* Napoleon, the great advocate of the 
rights of the people in antagonism to this aris- 
tocratic privilege, said, at St. Helena, 

" Our Revolution was a national convulsion 
as irresistible in its effects as an eruption of 
Vesuvius. When the mysterious fusion wliich 
takes place in the entrails of the earth is at 
such a crisis that an explosion follows, the 
eruption bursts forth. The unperceived work- 
ings of the discontent of the people follow ex- 

* Abbott's French Revolution, as viewed in the Light of 
Republican Institutions. 

1715.] Last Days of Louis XIY. 403 

Devotion of Madame de Maintenon. Last messages. 

actly the same course. In France, the suffer- 
ings of the people, the moral combinations 
which produce a revolution, had arrived at 
maturity, and the explosion took place."* " -£ 

Such was the condition in which unhappy 
France was left by Louis XIY., after a reign 
of seventy years. He was now seventy-seven 
years of age. Madame de Maintenon, two 
years his senior, was entering her eightieth 
year. With unwearied devotion she watched 
at the bedside of that seltish husband whose 
pride would never allow him to acknowledge 
her publicly as his wife. 

Feeling that his end was drawing near, the 
king summoned the Duke of Orleans to his 
bedside, and informed him minutely of the 
measures he wished to have adopted after his 
death. The duke listened respectfully, but 
paid no more regard to the wishes of the now 
powerless and dying king than to the wailing 
of the wind. The king had penetration 
enough to see that his day was over. He sank 
back upon his pillow in despair. 

On the 26th of August several prominent 
members of his court were invited to the dy- 
ing chamber of the king. His voice was al 
* Napoleon at St. Helena, p. 874 

404 Louis XI Y. [1715. 

Melancholy spectacle. 

most gone. He beckoned them to gather near 
around his bed. Then, in feeble tones, tremu- 
lous with emotion, the pitiable old man, con- 
scious of his summons to the tribunal of God, 

" Gentlemen, I ask your pardon for the bad 
example I have set you. I thank you for your 
fidelity to me, and beg you to be equally faith- 
ful to my grandson. Farewell, gentlemen. 
Forgive me. I hope you will sometimes think 
of me when I am gone." 

" By many a death-bed I have been, 
By many a sinner's parting scene, 
But never aught like this." 

It was, indeed, a spectacle mournfully sub- 
lime. The dying chamber was one of the 
most magnificent apartments in the palace of 
Versailles. The royal couch, massive in its 
architecture, richly curtained in its embroider- 
ed upholstery of satin and gold, presented a 
bed whose pillowed luxury exhibited haggard 
death in the strongest possible contrast. 

Upon this gorgeous bed the gray-haired king 
reclined, wrinkled and wan, and with a coun- 
tenance which bore the traces both of physical 
suffering and of keen remorse. The velvet 
hangings of the bed were looped back with 

1715.] Last Days of Louis XIV. 405 

The young heir to the throne. Dying advice. 

heavy tassels of gold. A group of nobles in 
gorgeous court costumes were kneeling around 
the bed. Dispersed over the vast apartment 
were other groups of courtiers and ladies, in 
picturesque attitudes of real or affected grief. 
The gilded cornices, the richly-painted ceilings, 
the soft carpet, yielding to the pressure of the 
foot, the lavish display of the most costly and 
luxurious furniture, all conspired to render the 
dimmed eye, and wasted cheek, and palsied 
frame of the dying more impressive. 

At a gesture from the king nearly all retired. 
For a few moments there was unbroken si- 
lence. The king then requested his great 
grandchild, who was to be his successor, to be 
brought to him. A cushion was placed by the 
side of the bed, and the half -frightened child, 
clinging to the hand of his governess, kneeled 
upon it. Louis XIV. gazed for a few mo- 
ments with almost pitying tenderness upon 
the infant prince, and then said, 

" My child, you are about to become a great 
king. Do not imitate me either in my taste 
for building or in my love of war. Live in 
peace with the nations. Render to God all 
that you owe him. Teach your subject* to 
(honor His name. Strive to relieve the bur- 

406 Louis XIV. [1715. 

The king blesses the dauphin. 

dens of your people, in which I have been so 
unfortunate as to fail. Never forget the grat- 
itude you owe to the Duchess de Yentadour."* 

"Madame," said the king, addressing Ma- 
dame de Yentadour, " permit me to embrace 
the prince." 

The dauphin was placed upon the bed. 
The king encircled him in his arms, pressed 
him fondly to his breast, and said, in a voice 
broken by emotion, 

a "I bless you, my dear child, with all my 
eart." He then raised his eyes to heaven, 
and uttered a short prayer for God's blessing 
upon the boy. 

The next day, after another night of languor 
and suffering, the restless, conscience-stricken 
king again summoned the dignitaries of the 
court to his bedside, and said to them, in the 
presence of Madame de Maintenon and of his 
confessor, who had mainly instigated him in 
the persecution of the Protestants, 

" Gentlemen, I die in the faith and obedi^ 
ence of the Church. I know nothing of the 

* The Duchess de Ventadcmr, by the most careful nursing, 
to which she entirely devoted herself, had rescued the infant 
Duke of Anjou from the effect of the poison to which his fa- 
ther, mother, and brother had fallen "victims. 

1715.] Last Days of Louis XIV. 407 

Dying confession. Scenes of suffering. 

dogmas by which it is divided. I have follow-, 
ed the advice which I have received, and have 
done only what I was desired to do. If I have 
erred, my guides alone must answer before 
God, whom I call upon to witness this asser- 

The succeeding night the king was restless 
and greatly agitated. He could not sleep, and 
seemed to pass the whole night in agonizing 
prayer. In the morning he said to Madame 
de Maintenon, 

" At this moment I only regret yourself. I 
have not made you happy. But I have ever 
felt for you all the regard and affection which 
you deserved. My only consolation in leaving 
you exists in the hope that we shall, ere long, 
meet again in eternity." 

Hours of agony, bodily and mental, were 
still allotted to the king. His limbs were bad- 
ly swollen. Upon one of them mortification 
was rapidly advancing. He was often deliri- 
ous, with but brief intervals of consciousness. 
The service for the dying was performed. 
The ceremony seemed slightly to arouse him 
from his lethargy. His voice was heard occa- 
sionally blending with the prayers of the ec- 
clesiastics as he repeated several times, 

408 Louis XIV. [1715. 

Last words. The death of the king. 

"Now, in the hour of death, O my God, 
|come to my aid." 

V These were his last words. He sank back 
insensible upon his pillow. A few hours of 
painful breathing passed away, and at eight 
o'clock in the morning of the 1st of Septem- 
ber, 1715, he expired, in the seventy -seventh 
year of his age and the seventy-second of his 
reign. It was the longest reign in the annals 
of France. Had he been governed through 
this period by enlightened Christian principle, 
how many millions might have been made 
happy whom his crimes doomed to life-long 

An immense concourse was~assembled in 
the court-yard at Versailles, anticipating the 
announcement of his death. The moment he 
breathed his last sigh, the captain of the body- 
guard approached the great balcony, threw 
open the massive windows, and, looking down 
upon the multitude below, raised his truncheon 
above his head, broke it in the centre, threw 
the fragments down into the court-yard, and 
cried sadly, " The king is dead I" 

Then, instantly seizing another staff from 
the hands of an attendant, he waved it joyful- 
ly above his head, and shouted triumphantly, 

1715.] Last Days of Louis XIV. 409 

Louis XV. proclaimed. 

Ignominious burial of Louis XIV. 

" Long live the king, Louis XV. !" A huzza 
burst from the lips of the assembled thousands 
almost loud enough to pierce the ear of the 
king, now palsied in death. 


There were few to mourn the departed mon- 
arch. As his remains were hurried to the 
vaults of St. Denis, those vaults which he had 
so much dreaded, the populace shouted execra- 
tions and pelted his coffin with mud. Not the 

4:10 Louis XI Y. [1715. 

Louis XV. Louis XVI. The Revolution. 

slightest regard was paid to liis will. The 
Duke of Orleans assumed the regency with 
absolute power. His reign was execrable, fol- 
lowed by the still more infamous reign of 
Louis XY. Then came the Re volution, as the 
sceptre of utterly despotic sway passed into the 
hands of the feeble Louis XYI. The storm, 
which had been gathering for ages, burst with 
fury which appalled the world. A more tre- 
mendous event has not occurred in the history 
of our race. The story has too often been 
told by those who were in sympathy with the 
kings and the nobles. The time will come 
when the people's side of the story will be re- 
ceived, and the terrible drama will be better 


363 5